Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison, exhibits the extreme difficulties a freed slave faces when they achieve the right to life and liberty again. Sethe, one of the main characters, faces hardship as the past she desperately tries to keep at bay catches up with her. Sethe's evolution of self is revealed through her interactions with Beloved, the reincarnation of her dead daughter. Beloved's entanglement in Sethe's life shows the journey Sethe experienced from the beginning as a slave mother, to an confused woman, up to the point of her downfall.
Since her birth, Beloved has influenced Sethe's life. Like all her children, Beloved brought out the tender motherhood within Sethe. Growing up as a slave from birth and into adulthood, Sethe was directly affected by the atrocities of slavery. Primarily, this caused Sethe to send her children away from Sweet Home Plantation as they were born. Her conviction towards white folk, which came from the relation she had with schoolteacher, the horrible man who became her master also contributed to Sethe's escape and that of her children. It is stated,"That anybody white could take your whole self for anything that came to mind. Not just work, kill, or maim you, but dirty you. Dirty you so bad you couldn't like yourself anymore. Dirty you so bad you forgot who you were and couldn't think it up. And though she and others lived through and got over it, she could never let it happen to her own. The best thing she was, was her children. White might dirty her all right, but not her best thing, her beautiful, magical best thing-the part of her that was clean." (296). By claiming her children as the beautiful clean part of her, this quotation asserts the determination Sethe had as a mother to provide her children a better life. She would not have her childrens' life shaped by slavery, nor let anyone try to 'dirty' them. As a mother, she could not jeopardize the chance her innocent babies had to escape slavery. Being in a plantation,...
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