Theme Of Water In Beloved

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Beloved Word Essay: Water
Motherhood is a major theme of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, as multiple characters often lament the futile extent to which they can be mothers. In Chapter 5 Beloved, the reader is introduced to two new motherhood dynamics, both relating to the mysterious Beloved. Wherever motherhood is mentioned, water imagery—with its established connections to birth, healing, and life—used as well. Because it factors into Beloved’s symbolic “birth” and nurturing, water is an important image that relates to giving and sustaining life and motherhood in Beloved.
The most direct use of water establishes a parallel birth between Sethe and Beloved, connection that places Sethe in the role of her mother. When Beloved first appears at 124, she is said to have “walked out of water” and is “sopping wet” (60.) From the outset, Beloved is inextricably connected to water imagery. As soon as Sethe sees Beloved, she suddenly has an overwhelming desire to pee, and upon making it to an outhouse, “the water she voided was endless” (61). In this passage, there is a parallel between Beloved’s emergence from water and Sethe suddenly releasing large quantities of it, implying that Beloved has come directly from Sethe’s own water. Additionally, the act causes Sethe to remember to Denver’s birth, comparing how “there was no stopping water from a breaking womb” when her daughter was born, just as “there was no stopping [it] now.” Both Sethe and the reader draw the connection between water in this context and “breaking water” and childbirth, implying that
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As demonstrated through the water imagery, both Sethe and Denver have developed their own definitions and roles as “mothers.” This contrast may serve to be a point of tension as the meaning and extent of “motherhood” continues to be defined throughout the
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