"On a cold January night in 1856, eight Northern Kentucky slaves, including 22-year-old Margaret Garner and her four children, crossed the frozen Ohio River en route to Canada and freedom. The next morning, an armed posse of 11 white men, led by Garner's master, Archibald Gaines, surrounded the Cincinnati house where the runaways were hiding. In the melee that followed, Garner murdered her two-year-old daughter and attempted to kill her remaining children." (Goodman) This is the true story behind the classic novel Beloved; a story that is filled with symbols, pain, and sorrow. Each character has their own particular baggage that they carry with them whether it is in the form of a symbol or memory that has forever changed who they are. In this instance they lose their identity and are forced to adapt new ones for better or for worse.
The idea of slavery is most often a brutal one. Stories have been passed down for generations and documented historically showing and telling of the trials and tribulations a slave would have throughout his or her life. Slaves, in many cases, would be bought and sold at markets that resembled cattle auctions that we have today. Placed on stands like hunks of meat the potential buyers would examine them for their size, strength, and assess if the individual was best suited to perform the task at hand, whether that would be picking cotton or plowing fields. This is the first instance where the slave would be stripped of his or her identity because they were viewed as objects and possessions. They didn't care who they were as a person, rather only what they could accomplish.
Once the slave was purchased the owners sometimes branded them to show ownership identifying them as property of the plantation owner they worked for. In Beloved, these branding marks served multiple purposes. For the owners it was identification, but for the parent it was a way for the child to... [continues]
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