Victim or Victor
Life presents many challenges. It is how those challenges are viewed and dealt with that can define us and thus predispose us to enjoy a happy, meaningful, and fulfilling life or to become defeated and simply exist. It is the person that chooses to accept that things just happen, and moves forward instead of blaming; in that case s/he are choosing life and ultimately love. Whereas the person that thinks s/he had some power to keep something from happening and blames him/herself or other forces for the tragedy can become paralyzed with guilt, anger, or resentment and thus lose hope. At times we do have power to change or stop some tragedies, but often times we do not. Most tragic: when family, friends, or the community support the person to remain in what some would call a ‘pity-pot’ by saying “poor you” thus not encouraging the person to accept the situation or event and to embrace life and love and move forward living and loving. (Except someone whom is powerless under the control of a tyrant, a child under the control of abusive parents, or slaves to their master.) It takes a truly strong-willed person to emotionally separate him/herself from the actions of another and not to allow a person or circumstances to dictate the basic beliefs. Toni Morrison masterfully develops strong female characters in her book, Beloved. Such as the case with the Suggs family, where it becomes palpable whom has been victimized by slavery and their overseer’s and who has been victorious in spite of her past circumstances. Baby Suggs and Sethe were both born into slavery thus being victimized by their overseer’s and further victimized by not having basic freedoms. Denver although not born into slavery was a victim of her mothers and grandmothers fears and by the deeds committed by her mother. On the other hand as the story progresses you can see who has come through some horrific situations and circumstances and proven to be victorious.
Baby Suggs was born into slavery, and although many atrocities were committed to her and subsequently her children she had been subjected to the sexual whims of her master(s) and it is unknown if any of her children were a product of that relationship(s). Regrettably she did not know the whereabouts of seven of her eight children other than “Four taken, four chased” (Morrison 5). “Anybody Baby Suggs knew, let alone loved, who hadn’t run off or been hanged, got rented out, loaned out, bought up, brought back, stored up, mortgaged, won, stolen or seized. So Baby’s eight children had six fathers.” (Morrison 24) After all, “God take what He would . . . And He did.” (Morrison 24 25) Baby seems to have entered into freedom as a whole person – mentally, physically, and spiritually and all went well until Stamp Paid was successful in search for blackberries and “perch and catfish were jumping into the boat” (Morrison 143) “until she got proud and let herself be overwhelmed by the sight of her daughter-in-law and Halle’s children ― one of whom was born on the way ― and have a celebration of blackberries that put Christmas to shame.” (Morrison 155) “Nothing seemed amiss ― yet the smell of disapproval was sharp.” (Morrison 145) “Her friends and neighbors were angry at her because she had overstepped, given too much, offended them by excess.” (Morrison 145) Following “When the four horseman came ― schoolteacher, one nephew, one slave catcher and a sheriff” (Morrison 156) “Inside, two boys bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a nigger woman holding a blood-soaked child to her chest with one hand and an infant by the heels in the other.” (Morrison 157) Certainly Baby Suggs was in shock because of the horrific actions of Sethe who was created to nurture, to bring and sustain life not to snuff it out. People stopped coming to the clearing for ministry “Baby Suggs refused to go to the Clearing because she believed they had won” (Morrison 192) whereby Baby appears to have lost all hope and joy and...
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