This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Analysis Of Sethe In The Novel Beloved By Toni Morrison

1020 words - 4 pages

“Mothers are all slightly insane.” This quote by acclaimed American writer J.D. Salinger accurately describes the nature of all mothers. The innate nature of mothers to be insane, or to think without logic or reason is vividly displayed in Toni Morrison’s Beloved through the protagonist Sethe. Sethe, an Ohio infanticide, displays loving traits throughout Beloved, and often leads the reader to question her motivations behind the killing of her child, Beloved. The reader is never truly delivered an exact reasoning behind Sethe’s infanticide, but Morrison has recurring elements that help chain together anachronistic events in pursuit of aiding the reader to build his/her own reasoning. Morrison uses Sethe’s milk and the recurring element of forgiveness to craft a story that exemplifies the insanity associated with responsibilities of a mother, while retaining ambiguity associated with the morality of “motherly” infanticide.
A reader might typically associate milk with being a nourishing organic substance shared between a mother and her children, but Morrison uses milk as a deeper bond between characters. Milk is first used as an image in Sethe's recollection of being punished for running away from Sweet Home. Conversationally recollecting the events with Paul D, Sethe exclaims “After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk...And they took my milk...and they took my milk!” (Morrison 32-33). It can be concluded that, because milk is a natural and replenished substance, Sethe must have a deeper grievance with the stealing of her milk than its physical loss. When they "took her milk" they were really taking away part of her maternity, and Sethe was most upset about not being able to cater to her baby's needs at the hands of manipulative white men. For Sethe to truly gain personal freedom, she had to gain control for womanhood. It is interesting to note, that Sethe "was pregnant with Denver but [she] had milk for [her] baby girl” (Morrison 31) and that it was her maternal instinct to provide milk for Beloved that enticed her to run away from Sweet Home in the first place. Milk also links Beloved to her younger sister, Denver, in that when Beloved was killed by Sethe, in an attempt to remove Sethe's children from a life of slavery, "Denver took her mother's milk right along with the blood of her sister” (Morrison 293). This creates a bond between Denver and Beloved, which also weighs the value of both a mother's milk and a mother's blood, placing them as equal in value to each other, which essentially serves as an analogy that motherhood and life itself are equal in value. Even beyond that specific analogy of milk, Sethe's ultimate goal as a mother was to have "milk enough for all" (Morrison 194), in other words, to be able to provide maternal qualities to all of her children. Upon the return of slave-owner schoolteacher and his associates, Sethe "just flew...[and] collected every bit of the life she made…[to] a place where no one could hurt...

Find Another Essay On Analysis of Sethe in the Novel Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved By Toni Morrison Essay

424 words - 2 pages Beloved by Toni Morrison, is a piercing novel of powerful images, of captivating tenderness and constant self-abasement. The conflict is centered around the revages caused by slavery in America, which prompts the protagonist, sethe, to flee the ironically named Kentucky plantation, Sweet Home, in search of a life of diginty and freedom in the free state of Ohio. This contemporary novel succeeds in proving the immense prower of the spirit, the

Slavery’s impact on Motherhood in the novel ‘Beloved’ by Toni Morrison?

934 words - 4 pages to a life of slavery would be taking away everything that she gave “life” to and to destroy all that’s good in her world. . Toni Morrison shows in clear depth the struggles slave women had in loving their children and how the right to be mother was stolen from them. She uses Sethe as a symbol to show how strong Motherhood truly is. Despite, slavery preventing Mothers the right to care for and nurture their children. Morrison portrays motherhood as a powerful source to be reckoned with. Works Cited http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/beloved/ Beloved by Toni Morrison http://www.shmoop.com/beloved/

Beloved, by Toni Morrison

764 words - 3 pages BelovedIn the Novel Beloved, by Toni Morrison unmasks the horrors of slavery, and depicts its aftermath on African Americans. The story is perfect for all who did not experience nor could imagine how it was to be an African American in America circa the 1860's. Beloved lends a gateway to understanding the trials and tribulations of the modern African American. The Novel has many things that occur that are very striking, most of which have to

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison, a fragment analysis

1170 words - 5 pages would come again into their yard.Sethe is and remains both a victim and a hero. A victim because she will never be free for real because of her past, and a hero because she was able to risk everything for her children’s freedom.In the novel, Toni Morrison stresses the fact that freedom of the individual is essential, because uniqueness is in everyone.She describes Sethe as a stanger among her friends; the day she is saved is the day people are

Use of Violence in Beloved by Toni Morrison

836 words - 3 pages As much as society does not want to admit, violence serves as a form of entertainment. In media today, violence typically has no meaning. Literature, movies, and music, saturated with violence, enter the homes of millions everyday. On the other hand, in Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison, violence contributes greatly to the overall work. The story takes place during the age of the enslavement of African-Americans for rural labor in plantations

The Water Motif in Beloved by Toni Morrison

1437 words - 6 pages In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison writes about the life of former slaves of Sweet Home. Sethe, one of the main characters, was once a slave to a man and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Garner. After Garner’s sudden death, schoolteacher comes to Sweet Home and takes control of the slaves. His treatment of all the slaves forced them to run away. Fearing that her children would be sold, Sethe sent her two boys and her baby girl ahead to her

Issues of Sexuality in Beloved by Toni Morrison

1502 words - 6 pages Beloved Issues of Sexuality The story “Beloved” offers many interpretations for analysis however, Toni Morrison particularly makes note of how slavery plays a role in sexuality discrepancies with Sethe and her problem with femininity as well as Paul D’s issue with masculinity. Both of the character’s situations differ from one another. For example, Slavery has emasculated Paul D, taking away his manhood and disabling him from making his own

A Mother’s Timeless Dilemma in "Beloved" by Toni Morrison

1731 words - 7 pages novel Beloved to expose the timeless nature of the difficulties mothers face. Morrison creates a character in Sethe that modern working mothers can relate to, as they go through many of the same experiences such as forced separation from their children. These women are faced with difficulties, just as Sethe is, when they are reconnected with their children because, as the reader can see when Beloved returns, a mother’s first reaction when

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison-Importance of Minor Characters

858 words - 3 pages , however, play a crucial role in Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. Contrasts between the main characters and the minor characters provide new perspectives. In memories of Paul D. and Sethe, the minor characters often play major roles, and have direct effects on the plot. The character’s presence is used to portray how it would feel to live as a slave. Furthermore, Morrison dedicates the book to the characters affected by slavery, "Sixty Million

Toni Morrison: Beloved

1425 words - 6 pages Toni Morrison was the first African American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. The novel, Beloved, considered by many to be her best, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Beloved, is a novel that reflects upon the History of African American slaves. This novel depicts images of the past, for former slaves in the novel; the past is a burden that they desperately try to forget. However for the protagonist Sethe, memories of

Toni Morrison and Beloved

2825 words - 11 pages Toni Morrison was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved, a novel whose popularity and worth earned her the Nobel Prize in literature the first ever awarded to a black female author.  Born in the small town of Larain, Ohio, in 1931, to George and Ramah Willis Wofford, Morrison's birth name is Chloe Anthony Wofford (Gates and Appiah  ix).  Morrison describes the actions of her central character in Beloved, as:  the ultimate

Similar Essays

Beloved By: Toni Morrison "Justify The Murder Of Sethe Children"

915 words - 4 pages free herself? Sethe, is a former slave who I consider to be a exceedingly strong black woman who chooses to kill her baby girl rather than allowing her to be exposed to the physically, and emotionally damaging horrors of a life spent in slavery. There is no other way to see it other than she murdered her child. By killing her child, so dear to her heart, the question arises to us whether Sethe acted out of true love or selfishness

The Novel Beloved By Toni Morrison

1431 words - 6 pages In Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, memories and past experiences play an important role in the daily lives of most, if not all, of the characters in the novel. Many of the characters in Beloved had to live through slavery and the evils that accompanied it. The traumas that the characters have experienced in their time as slaves and even after have changed who they are forever. In the case of Stamp Paid he gets a whole new identity and name. He

"Beloved" By Toni Morrison. Relationship Between Sethe And Beloved

1422 words - 6 pages In Toni Morrison Beloved, the main character Sethe must confront the past and Beloved in order to heal the wounds it has caused. The main character Sethe is disturbed by the traumas of racism and slavery, which caused her to kill her first infant name Beloved. Throughout the novel, Sethe works hard to avoid the past, which has caused her nothing but pain and horror while she was at the Sweet Home. The relationship between Sethe and Beloved takes

The Character Of Beloved From Beloved By Toni Morrison

2210 words - 9 pages The Character of Beloved from Beloved by Toni Morrison The character of Beloved, from Toni Morrison?s novel, Beloved, is an embodiment of the evils of slavery. Beloved, the daughter of a former slave, is a child who died before her time, therefore her existential search for identity parallels the search of self that slavery created in an innumerable amount of human beings. When reading the novel, Beloved, it is vital for the