Memory Lane Deconstruction Essay

1000 words - 4 pages ✓ Expert Reviewed

Memory is a very powerful tool of a person's mind. It can cause a person to relive a positive incident or do the exact opposite, meaning it causes the person to relive a painful moment. Memory is portrayed as a destructive activity in Beloved because it causes many characters to revisit their painful past. There are many incidents throughout the novel that helps to endorse the destructive quality of memory. First of all destructiveness is portrayed through one of the main characters, Sethe. Another character that memory affects negatively is Paul D. A third prisoner of bad memory is Stamp Paid.
From time to time, the reader hears of a red light in the house of 124 Bluestone Road. Sethe is haunted by a life changing choice she made in her past. Her daughter's infant ghost haunts the house that Sethe and her daughter, Denver occupy. Sethe cannot move forward in her life because of a choice she made many years ago, which was to kill her baby girl. This decision was based upon the fact that Sethe did not want her daughter to be taken back into slavery. Sethe tries to repress the past, but cannot with this ghost haunting her. Paul D. proceeds to enters Sethe's life again, and as a result he causes more negative memories to resurface. He brings back the memories of Sweet Home, the plantation where they were slaves together. Sethe recalls Sweet Home and states, "Comes back whether we want it to or not" (Morrison 16). This statement reflects the meaning that no matter how hard someone tries, memories cannot be repressed forever, they will resurface at some point whether the person wants them to or not. When Paul D. arrives at her house, the memories from Sweet Home resurface, which in this instances is a very deconstructive matter. Sethe does not want to remember those days, that is why she has repressed those thoughts. Beloved appears in an unsettling state at Sethe's house. Denver and Sethe learn she is the ghost of Sethe's daughter that passed many years ago. Sethe becomes dysfunctional when she tries to please every demand of Beloved, which is another example of how memory or the past can be destructive. Denver suffers from Sethe's actions in a way of which she needs to take on the mom role in the family and provide for Sethe and Beloved. Memory with Sethe comes at full force and destroys the only family she has left. In the end of the novel, the women of the town step in to help rid Sethe of this burden. The timing of Denver's boss happens inconveniently for him. Sethe believes it is the schoolmaster coming for Beloved again. "He is coming into her yard and he is coming for her best thing" (Morrison 308). She flashes back to this time when the schoolteacher tried to take her and her children back into slavery, and...

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