The Importance Of Slavery In Toni Morrison's Beloved

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, Black people, Atlantic slave trade, American Civil War, Abuse / Pages: 6 (1406 words) / Published: Jul 15th, 2015
In the words of Toni Morrison herself, “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another”. Beloved is a narration of a former slave, Sethe who is trying to obtain true freedom. Though she no longer belongs to a master of a plantation, she is chained to her trembling past. Through the use of her characters, Morrison effectively conveys the memorable horrors of slavery that impact their everyday life and displays the powerful social class whites had in the eighteen century.
Sethe’s scars and choices she made to keep her child from a brutal and filthy life of slavery will harm many around her. Paul D has numerous appalling flashbacks from their past that displayed the social class whites had back in the eighteen
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The hardship of slavery is also seen through many of the flash back of which Paul D has. “One thousand feet of earth--five feet deep, five feet wide, into which wooden boxes had been fitted. A door of bars that you could lift on hinges like a cage opened into three walls and a roof of scrap lumber and red dirt. Two feet of it over his head; three feet of open trench in front of him with anything that crawled or scurried welcome to share that grave calling itself quarters. And there were forty-five more.” (Morrison, 205). Above is of a flashback, which Paul D has of being taken to a room for his execution. When Paul attempted “to kill Brandywine, the man schoolteacher sold him to, ” he faced execution while whites that were executing colored people all day were not. Although Paul did not succeed in killing Brandywine, he still faced the same consequences as if he did. This demonstrates the dreadful consequences slaves faced in trying to escape with the impalement of their master and displays social status whites had within the community in the eighteen hundreds. Moreover, Paul D reflects on how slavery has made him fall short. He claims that "Mister, he looked so… free. Better than me. Stronger, tougher.”, "Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was. But I wasn't allowed to be and stay what I was. But wasn't no way I'd ever be Paul D again, living or dead. Schoolteacher changed me." (Morrison, 141): He compares him life to a chicken by the name of Mister.Paul D knows he “wasn’t allowed to be” himself while under the supervision of schoolteacher. The brutal horror of slavery has caused him to fall short.: He can no longer be “Paul D again, living or dead” which takes a toll on his life after being a slave. Furthermore, Paul D’s flashback of his execution exhibit the power whites had in the eighteen

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