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Is Sethe A Character More Deserving Of Pity Or Scorn In "Beloved"?

1375 words - 6 pages

To be a person deserving of pity is to be someone who has had a life of horrible and life-changing experiences. In the novel, "Beloved", Sethe, the main character, is an escaped slave shown throughout the story going through many horrific events. Sethe escaped the Sweet Home plantation to Ohio because of the terrible living conditions she endured there as a slave. The journey to Ohio was quite intense, on the way Sethe went into labour, and was forced to give birth to her fourth child in a boat. When Sethe arrived in Ohio, she lived in house number 124. Her life in Ohio was just as bad as it was at the Sweet Home. Sethe endured many hardships, and was isolated from the community. Only after being at 124 for a short period of time, the Schoolteacher, the man who was in charge of Sweet Home, and his nephews came to take Sethe back to Sweet Home. They cornered Sethe and her children in a shack, with nowhere to escape. Sethe killed her first daughter, Beloved, and attempted to kill her other children as well as a desperate attempt to save them from the Schoolteacher and his nephews. Throughout the story, Sethe recalls many repressed memories, which show that her whole life was full of misery and pain. It can be said that Sethe is indeed a person more deserving of pity, as her living conditions and life were worse of that of the average slave. Sethe's suffering justified her behaviour and attitude.While at the Sweet Home, Sethe, pregnant with her fourth child, was viciously abused and raped by the Schoolteacher and his nephews. As Paul D and Sethe recall memories from the Sweet Home, Sethe explains to Paul D how the school teacher's nephews brutally attacked her. "After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk. That's what they came in there for. Held me down and took it. I told Mrs. Garner on em. She had that lump and couldn't speak but her eyes rolled out tears." The Schoolteacher's nephews held her down while they stole her milk, the milk that was supposed to be for her unborn child. Sethe was forced to endure this against her will. To make matters worse, Sethe was pregnant. By doing this to Sethe, they risked the life of her baby, and ruthlessly violated her body. When the Schoolteacher's nephews found out that Sethe had told Mrs. Garner what they had done to her, they went to the Schoolteacher, who did even more damage to Sethe. "Them boys found out I told on em. Schoolteacher made one open up my back, and when it closed it made a tree. It grows there still." 2 After receiving the physical assault from the Schoolteacher's nephews, the schoolteacher himself had one of his nephews hold Sethe, while he whipped her in the back numerous times. This made Sethe go through unbearable pain. These whippings gave Sethe many scars, which made a tree-like form. Sethe went through agonies that no person should ever go through. Difficulties like these can affect her behaviour in many ways. Being abused constantly can affect a person both physically...

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