Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Beloved Four

And in conclusion.

Beloved tells the story of not just one family's attempt to deal with a tragic situation, while being constantly haunted by the victim of the tragedy, but also the story of how they got there. What drove Sethe to kill her child? And so Morrison provides for us a glimpse of the live Sethe led, the life Paul D. let, and the lives of those with whom they rubbed shoulders. We see slavery at its filthiest when we see Schoolteacher instructing on the animal characteristics of the slaves, when the women are raped, and the men hung from trees, burned alive, and broken like horses. We see slavery at its finest when Paul D and his brothers are allowed to share their opinions with their owner, who allows them to have guns, and treats them like men. Even in those moments, Paul D. acknowledges that he is only a man because the white man has said he is-whether the slavery is brutal and gruesome or simply servitude, the white man determines the worth and meaning of the black man's very existence. All of these events from the past combined create the woman Sethe was when she killed her daughter. Morrison challenges the readers with the question Who is really to blame? Sethe killed one child, the institution of slavery killed 'sixty million and more'.

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