Possessive Love in Secrets and Lies and Beloved
The word “freedom” is subject to various degrees of interpretation in the sense that it can be used in more than one context. One definition of freedom is the idea of having your own sense of self without the control of others. On the other hand, a lack of freedom is the idea of feeling trapped and smothered in a situation one has no control over. Freedom can relate to school, relationships, or even within oneself. A lack of freedom can have nothing to do with other people but with the ball and chain that can be placed on by oneself. Of course the outside world will be involved, but the pain of feeling trapped comes from the frustration that fills one’s soul. A lack of freedom can result from a twisted circle of other events and other people. In the novel Beloved and the film Secrets and Lies, the enslavement that Roxanne and Denver feel result from their mothers’ possessive love. Sethe and Cynthia both have horrific pasts, leaving them in captivity and causing them to have unhealthy relationships with their daughters. Sethe and Cynthia love the only way the know how, possessively and dependently, causing Denver and Roxanne’s mental enslavement.
In the film Secrets and Lies, both Cynthia and her twenty-one year-old daughter Roxanne, live a life of captivity. Cynthia’s is due to her unexplained past, while Roxanne’s is in result of her overbearing mother. Cynthia’s lack of freedom does not result from another’s actions, but from her own past. The trauma and lack of love she has experienced, has been blocked out and instead of dealing with it, she lives off of the attention of others. When she meets her daughter Hortense, whom she had given up for adoption years ago, she can’t believe or understand the fact that Hortense is black. Cynthia says to her, “I’m sorry sweetheart, but it just isn’t possible. I have never been with a black man in my life.” Seconds later, we see the shock in Cynthia’s face as the past comes back to her. The experience of being with such a terrible man (as we find out later) and having a baby at the young age of fifteen, was such a horrific experience for her that she blocked it out. Instead of freeing herself from the past and dealing with the experience, Cynthia buries it within herself and blocks the past out completely. This is one of the most likely reasons for Cynthia’s unexplained, odd, and possessive behavior toward Roxanne later in life.
The deprivation of love and loss of self that Cynthia experiences in her younger years leads to unhealthy relationships between herself and family members. It is evident that Cynthia is constantly striving for the love she never had by the way she treats herself and her brother, Morris. Upon being left by Roxanne for the evening, Cynthia retreats to her room where she closes her eyes and caresses her breasts. This scene stresses Cynthia’s need and desire for intimacy and love. Another...