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

915 words - 4 pages

The strength of an ox, Sethe took her children to what she considered to be a better life of freedom and peace of mind. Sure that running to baby Suggs home would bring her a newfound respect for herself, she didn't think of the schoolteacher finding her. Sethe had great love for her children. Her attempt to kill them all was extremely brutal but in some cases hardly but justifiable. The question is whether it was done out of love or a way to 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 fact that Sethe's act is irrational can easily be decided upon. A question I ask my self to justify her doing is does Sethe kill her baby girl because she wants to save the baby from slavery or does Sethe end her daughter's life because of a selfish refusal to reenter a life of slavery? By examining the complexities of Sethe's character it can be said that she is a woman who chooses to love her children but not herself. Sethe kills her baby because, in Sethe's mind, her children are the only good and pure part of who she is and must be protected from the cruelty and the "dirtiness" of slavery. In this respect, her act is that of love for her children. The selfishness of Sethe's act lies in her refusal to accept personal responsibility for her baby's death. She continuously says she didn't want them to be born there Sethe's motivation is dichotomous in that she displays her love by mercifully sparing her daughter from a horrific life, yet Sethe refuses to acknowledge that her show of mercy is also murder. Throughout Beloved, Sethe's character consistently displays the duplistic nature of her actions. Not long after Sethe's reunion with Paul D. she describes her reaction to Schoolteacher's arrival: "Oh, no. I wasn't going back there [Sweet Home]. I went to jail instead" using her Children as a way to avoid going back she killed them as her freedom. Sethe's words suggest that she has made a moral stand by her refusal to allow herself and her children to be dragged back into the evil of...

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