BELOVED broken up, characters going crazy, and

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Toni Morrison depicts the physical and psychological effects slavery has on an African American woman and her family following the civil war in her famous book, Beloved. Throughout the novel, Morrison uses various themes to capture the impact of slavery had on the various characters portrayed in Beloved. The effects on these characters were not just physical but psychological as well. The impact of slavery has left a great impression on this family even long after the civil war. Slavery has led to physical damage, the killing of ones child, families being broken up, characters going crazy, and not being able to move on from the past that haunts them.
Slavery has had a physical affect on many characters. School teacher made one open on my back, and when it closed it made a tree. It grows there still, (17) states Sethe describing the scar of a tree on her back. Sethe was whipped with cowhide for telling Mrs. Garner that the boys of the schoolteacher had taken milk from her that was for her baby. Sethe was whipped so hard that he had touched every ridge and leaf of it with his mouth, none of which Sethe could feel because her back skin had been dead for years (18). Even though years had passed Sethe is still effected by the punishment that was dealt to her during her time as a slave. Below her bloody knees, there was no feeling at all; her chest was two cushions of pain, (34) describes Sethe of her body as she lied in the woods pregnant and in severe pain. The fear of slavery and hope of
freedom had led her to run away pregnant into the woods to try to save herself and her unborn daughter from the chains of slavery.
Slavery also affected Sethe psychologically because the threat of slavery onto her children lead to the killing of one of her own children. Sethe did not want one of her children, Beloved, to live like how she had and to suffer like how she had suffered. Sethe believed that Beloved would be better off dead then to have been a slave to someone. Sethe believed that .what she had done was right because it came from true love (251). Slavery had to have affected Sethe psychologically because no mother in their right mind would kill their own children, but the negative affects of slavery and having been through the life of a slave, Sethe strongly believed that Beloved should not have to live the life of a slave. Sethe felt rather than having to suffer, Beloved would be better of dead.
In Beloved, we see evidence of the affects of slavery on families during that time. Slavery has lead to the break up of many families. Going back to when Sethe was a slave, she did not have any parents herself, and lost her husband when she ran away to Ohio trying to free herself. Slavery also led her to kill one of her children, and the ghost of that dead child, Beloved, led to both of her sons running away. In attempts to break free from the chain of slavery, Sethe had to put her family aside to gain freedom for herself and her one daughter Denver. Baby Suggs lost all of her eight children due to slavery, four children were taken from her and four were chased away. She tells Sethe that she should be thankful that she had three children left but it was because of these conditions that many former slaves were able to grow into a closer bond with each other.
Being a slave has not put Sethe in the right state of mind. The act of slavery stills lingers in her mind, as she cannot get over the years of her living as a slave. Like a soldier who fought in war would have flashbacks, Sethe often experiences a flashback of her own kind trying to forget all of the horrible memories. Sethe charges Edward Bodwin with an ice pick in the deranged belief that he is schoolteacher come for her babies (Furman 269). Being a slave and remembering her horrible past has led Sethe to believe that a white man who was there to give her daughter Denver a job was the schoolteacher that had mistreated her when she was a slave. Seeing Edward Bodwin standing in front of her house she flashed back to how the schoolteacher forced her to kill her own child and just went after Edward Bowin to kill him. Some characters like Ella has tried to completely forget the past. The past was something to leave behind. And if it didnt stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out (256). Ella feels that the past being so terrible its not even worth remembering and is best to just forget about everything that had happened.
The affects of slavery is so great that the characters in this story have a hard time moving on with their lives even after the end of slavery. Even though Denver did not live as a slave, the fact that Sethe her mom was slave, affected Denvers life greatly. The ghost of Beloved living in the house leads Denver to say, I cant live here. I dont know where to go or what to do, but I cant live here. Nobody speaks to us. Nobody comes by. Boys dont like me. Girls dont either (14). The events that occurred years ago during slavery still affects Denver who was not even born when her sister was killed. Furman
Says But without friends, neighbors, a church, without involvement in the community, she has little potential of rehabilitating her life beyond a woodshed (Furman 266). Slavery has led Sethe and Denver to live a secluded life in which they do not associate with other people. The lingering effects of slavery have slowed down the growth of Denver as a strong black woman and have prevented Sethe from moving on from the past that haunts her.

Through the novel Beloved, we can understand the physical and psychological effects that slavery had on people during that time. The harshness of slavery made people do things that they normally would not do and kept many from living the life that they would have wanted to live. We can also see that slavery not only affect those who were slaves but their children as well, as many had to grow up without parents, children, siblings, or spouses. Like the imagery of birds flying together in the story, what the African Americans wanted was just their freedom, to fly away from all the racial injustice.

Categories: Events

Toni Away from her to the pile

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved is set in rural Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1873. The novel is centered on a woman named Sethe, who is the mother of four children, and an escapee from slavery in a Kentucky plantation 18 years ago. She lives with her daughter, Denver in a shabby house at 124 Bluestone, that they share with the ghost of a dead baby, which haunts Sethe by reminding her of past tragedies. Paul D, Sethe’s new lover and a former Kentucky slave man whom Sethe takes in, helps shed light in Sethe’s sad life. Also arriving at the doorstep is a mysterious, ill young woman who calls herself Beloved. Gradually, Beloved penetrates the lives of all who live in the haunted house, forcing Sethe to confront her nightmarish memories. Morrison’s compelling scene in chapter 27 of when the thirty community women congregate in front of 124 Bluestone to battle the ghost haunting the house, is carefully constructed to contribute to the theme of healing and structure of the work.
As Denver is awaiting transportation for her first day on the job as Bodwin’s evening nurse, thirty neighborhood women pray and sing at the edge of the yard after hearing speculations from that the ghost of Sethe’s dead daughter is causing the family to deteriorate. Sethe and Beloved intrigued by the music move to the porch. “Sethe was breaking a lump of ice into chunks.When the music entered the window she was wringing a cool cloth to put on Beloved’s forehead.Sethe and she exchanged glances and started toward the window” (Morrison 261). As the Bodwin approaches in a cart with his horses to pick up Denver, Sethe is triggered by a flashback of when the schoolteacher and the slave catcher came to get her children 18 years ago. Racing towards the cart, Sethe releases the hand of Beloved and runs toward to crowd using the ice pick as an attachment of her hand to protect her Beloved. “He is coming into her yard and he is coming for her best thing..And if she thinks anything, it is no” (Morrison 262). The thirty community women whom Sethe was running toward stop her and Beloved neglected on the porch by herself disappears. “Sethe is running away from her, running, and she feels the emptiness in the hand Sethe has been holding. Now she is running into the faces of the people out there, joining them and leaving Beloved behind. Alone. Again. Then Denver, running too. Away from her to the pile of people out there” (Morrison 262). Morrison symbolically describes this scene to illustrate Sethe and Denver moving on in life and leaving the tragedies of the past behind.
Morrison describes Beloved in this scene as having an expanding waist in order to illustrate Beloved as an expanding monster who is greedily consuming everything that belongs to the family and shattering the fragile infrastructure the family is tentatively gripping on to. In this scene, Sethe is presented as obsessively centering all of her attention and energy into pleasing Beloved, because she is penitent for her past tragedies 18 years ago when she killed Beloved in order to keep her from bondage. Morrison portrays Denver as a guard watching over the yard; the duty Denver has assumed since her mother’s crime years ago. By allowing the flashback and violent attack to occur the vicious cycle that each character is miserably engulfed by is broken, which allows a new beginning to the individuals lives.
This scene contributes to the structure of the work because it allows the novel to narrate itself in the presence tense. After Sethe’s violent attack she is able to heal and no longer has to dig into the horrifying tragedies of her past. The rest of the novel from that scene when Sethe has a flashback and lashes in violence, takes place in present tense. Morrison narrates the rest of the novel in present tense in order to illustrate that the past no longer haunts Sethe as it once did years ago. Sethe can now start a new life without reminders of her shameful past experiences.
Morrison works this scene into conveying her theme of healing and confronting past memories. After the thirty neighborhood women congregates in front 124 Bluestone singing and praying, and when Mr. Bodwin comes with a cart , the thirty women stop Sethe from committing the same act she did 18 years ago. Sometimes getting rid of, or not having a reminder of one’s past tragedies will allow room to heal. When Beloved disappears Sethe is able to heal. Sethe and Denvers can conduct a life of peace and harmony without being disturbed by the ghost from Sethe’s past.
Morrison’s deepest purpose for constructing this scene is to illustrate a time for healing, a theme that Morrison develops from this compelling scene. After this violent episode, and Beloved disappears, Sethe and Denver are finally able to resume their lives with peace and harmony, as Morrison symbolically represents when Sethe releases Beloved and run towards the crowd with Denver. Morrison illustrates the healing process to taking place in her conclusion when each characters seeks ways to better their lives and situations. Denver is working at the Bodwin’s to help the family and may possibly attend Oberlin College while Sethe is restoring her self-esteem with the help of Paul D. Morrison is successful at combining elements of structure and theme in this scene to facilitate the course of the novel events to take place.

Categories: Music


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