Let Bygones Be Bygones
In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison sets up several characters who both love and are beloved. Among them, Paul D stands out through his timidity toward love and the meaning behind love, freedom. Because of the bitter and miserable experiences suffered by him and people around him, he has learned to love just a little and escape from the reality, and is a prisoner of his past. However, throughout the novel, Paul D rescues himself by persuading Sethe to live for tomorrow, which as a whole, illustrates the final success of former slaves to pass through the desperation and towards a brighter future. In contrast to Sethe, who “knew Paul D was adding something to her life- something she wanted to count on but was scared to” (Morrison 112) and still dares to “love too thick”, Paul D loves just “a little bit”. As a slave, he witnessed too many separations between families. He thinks that if he just loves small, he will not get hurt when the object of his love is sent away, and he chooses a tree, Brother, which cannot be taken away from him. He chooses to leave Sethe after he learns that Sethe killed her child; “he was wrong. This here Sethe was new. The ghost in her house didn’t bother her for the very same reason a room-and –board witch with new shoes was welcome. This here Sethe talked about love like any other woman; talked about baby clothes like any other woman, but what she meant could cleave the bone… Suddenly he saw what Stamp Paid wanted him to see: more important than what Sethe had done was what she claimed. It scared him” (Morrison 193). After going through all the difficulties, Sethe still loves deeply, but Paul D thinks that it is too risky because “for a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love. The best thing, he knew, was to love just a little bit; everything, just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker...
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