The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison: Narrative Essay

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Toni Morrison's novel Beloved is a terrifying narrative based on the recollections and dreams of one of the major characters, Margret Garner. The narrative depicts the hardships and adversities that Sethe and her comrades faced throughout the enslavement period. The major topic of the narrative is cherished, which is shown by the writer as Margret garner's last-born daughter, often known to as Sethe in the story. As a result, the narrative is horrible in that Sethe chooses to kill her children in order to save them from returning to slavery, but she only succeeds in killing one daughter (Beloved), who reappears later in her life and haunts her. The writer notes that 'One of Sethe's children ghost haunts the house' (Morrison 92). Concisely, what comes clear in his novel is the reality of slavery how the whites tortured and made the lives of the blacks miserable. In the novel, we learn that Sethe was in slavery for eighteen years on a farm known as a sweet home that was under the care of a brutal white man referred to as a schoolteacher. 'After the dead of the master the farm was left to the brutal school teacher' (Morrison 51). Besides, of the man hostility character we also learn that he had cruel nephews whom he allowed to brutalize Sethe meaning the farm was terrible for her to live and that is why she decided to escape for refuge. 'The brutal master gave permission to his nephews to torture Sethe making her life unbearable' (Morrison 37). She also considered the future of her children and she could not stand to see them suffer, and that is why she makes the radical decision to kill them herself rather than go back them to captivity. Conversely, the story displays the inhuman side of the whites and their brutality that made people like Sethe to make radical decisions such as committing murder to rescue their children from bondage. The author of the novel expresses the fears of slavery through Sethe that comes out clear that she preferred to have all her children dead than to see them suffer (Taylor-Guthrie 26). Therefore, Sethe choices are about the experience she had in the white's farm. The terrible experiences in the farm were the catalyst of Sethe's reasons to escape. In regards to Sethe's choice to kill her daughter Beloved, various groups in the story have different judgments. First, the author Toni Morrison explains it clearly in the novel that the reasons for Sethe to kill her two-year-old daughter was to 'keep her from being returned to slavery' (Morrison 60). Thus, according to the author's judgment that is the main reason, however, the community judges her. Differently, they consider her reasons vague and uncouth henceforth; they decide to ostracize her from the community. The writer says that Sethe was excommunicated from his community for his action. Consequently, Sethe and his immediate family remain in isolation a situation that her two son's finds difficult to bear with therefore they also decide to escape from home. As a result, only Denver stays around with the mother before Paul D. and Beloved comes over to stay with them. After Paul D abides with Sethe and Denver for a while, he comes to the realization that Sethe killed her daughter Beloved. Sethe explains the issue by stating that 'all the happenings are because of his past experience' (Morrison 78). He confronts Sethe an issue that stirs up anger making Paul D to walk away. Here rather, we learn that Sethe's reasons for killing her daughter to save them from slavery do not make sense even to Paul D. himself who was in captivity before, and that is why he decides to abandoned seethe's family. However, Sethe commits the crime of murder she regrets and faces many consequences such as community rejection; Paul D denounces her as well as his sons and finally, her daughter beloved reappears to her and makes the life unbearable. She judges herself bitterly while she suffers troubled relationships. Her past makes it impossible for her to plan the future or even live well in the present life. The author describes, 'Sethe was becoming weaker both in and spirit every day' (Morrison 102). The past made her life more fragment in the sense that it was difficult for her to reconnect the life back to normalcy. Personally, I judge Sethe positively I see her as a caring mother right from her actions of mercy and motherhood. Candidly, 'she does not commit the crime of murder willingly it is because of the circumstances and bitter times she had experienced' and would not like her children to go through the same (Taylor-Guthrie 20). To Sethe, 'slavery was more than death,' and that is why she had it as an option (Morrison 167). However, I do not support the act of murder rather I see an expression of love in a bitter way that is beyond human understanding, and that is why none could grasp her both the community and close people around. The truth is the act of murder was wrong, but the intention was right. Therefore, I envy the motive but not the action that Sethe employed to rescue her children from slavery. Reflecting, on the slavery challenges, Toni Morrison has highlighted in the novel 'Beloved the memories are disturbing and terrible making one develop hatred to the doers of this inhuman acts' (Morrison 197). First, we see the schoolteacher's nephews mishandle Sethe by sucking milk from her breasts with their 'mossy teeth' (Morrison 85). The two boys later after the realization that Sethe had reported the incidence 'mercilessly whip her with cowhide leaving her back split open with wounds.' The other terrible experience performed during slavery is when the schoolteacher or rather the master of the farm roasts one of his slaves Sixo alive. He also goes ahead and hangs Paul A. another servant who tried to escape from the farm. 'The torture in this place was terrible and inhuman (Morrison 136). Other slaves like Paul D. who were also trying to elope from the plantation went through bitter moments such us closure in an iron collar. The slaves experienced terrible moments and from unspeakable atrocities. The effects of slavery were severe to them making their life stagnant because the experience was still fresh in their minds. 'The memories affected their relationships, their self-esteem and their expression of love to others' (Taylor-Guthrie 22). The story of slavery is also disturbing to the readers who read of horrific happenings that took place in the past. Besides, it also affects people who read this stories because some may develop a negative attitude towards others, for instance, the blacks may hate the whites. Despite, all the challenges the slaves went through the story ends with a message of hope because we see the nightmares and torture depart from Sethe at last. 'Paul D. makes up with Sethe and lives together in peace as he tries to help Sethe to recollect herself and return to normalcy' (Taylor-Guthrie 25). Therefore, the ending of the novel is good because there is hope at the end of the struggle. However, the ending lives the audience in suspense to because it does not explain to the public 'where beloved disappeared to and what happened to her as well' (Morrison 264). The story does not highlight on Sethe two boys where they went or whether they came back to reunite with a family. The ending also does not capture the aspect of the community acceptance of Sethe back. The only person mentioned is Paul D who made up with Sethe. As much as the author has tried to end the story with hope, he has left so many questions unanswered. Nevertheless, based on the analysis of the whole episode 'the ghost of Beloved is symbolic of the oppression period that continued to haunt Sethe all along after the eighteen years of slavery' (Taylor-Guthrie 26). Many writers feature the slavery story besides Toni Morrison it is a horrific and scary history of the past during that terrible period. In my opinion, there is no need to burn the stories no matter disturbing they may be. The stories are the true depiction of what happened they discourage the same happening from taking place. In addition, they expose these terrible happenings and arouses the need for human rights and equality benefits. 'The slavery story makes the country appreciate its freedom as it looks back to the past because the past determines the future' (Taylor-Guthrie 28). There is also need to uncover all that happened during the slavery period it helps generations to learn a lesson of what racism and discrimination can bring forth. It is also important to know some of the people who suffered during the slavery period and the tactics they used to escape from this situation. Therefore, all this forms the basis of different community's origin, intermarriage, and trade. Hence, from the past happenings, people can learn the history of their country and tell why some things exist.

Works Cited Morrison, Toni. Beloved. Vintage: Reprint edition, 2004. Print Taylor-Guthrie, Danielle K. Conversations with Toni Morrison. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1994.1-28


October 07, 2021

War Literature



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