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 inexperienced reader to pay attention to the trials of Beloved, as they are the trials of slavery.
The character of Beloved, was reborn through the souls of slavery, and gathered their collective memories as she emerged from watery depths, through a river akin to the ocean crossed by slave ships enroute to the New World.
?A fully dressed woman walked out of the water. She barely gained the dry bank of the stream before she sat down and leaned against a mulberry tree? (50).
Beloved?s birth from water is an important metaphor for the river of life. When Beloved talks of dying, she speaks of being ?on the bridge? with Sethe departing from her.
??Don?t you remember we played together by the stream?? ?I was on the bridge,? said Beloved. ?You see me on the bridge??
?No, by the stream. The water back in the woods.?
?Oh, I was in the water. I saw her diamonds down there. I could touch them.?
?What stopped you??
?She left me behind. By myself,? said Beloved? (75).
The material bridge spanning the river is a metaphor for the spiritual bridge between life and death. Beloved speaks of waiting on the bridge, then crossing over to the ?other side,? where the souls of other victims of slavery awaited sharing their collective memories with her. Therefore, when Beloved was reborn out of water, she possessed the knowledge of all of the victims of slavery who existed on the other side. This becomes evident when Beloved, Denver, and Sethe, begin to recount their own individual memories, that entwine with one another. Beloved?s memories, however, contain an element that is lacking in the other narratives, a sense of otherworldliness. Such knowledge of slavery could only be obtained through a journey to the spiritual world. Therefore, Beloved is a paradox of naivete and timelessness as she recounts memories of crouching with the dead, experiencing a ?hot thing.? Slavery, in itself is a combination of naivete and aged maturity as well, for upon freedom, those who performed tasks upon command, those who took a beating without so much as a cry, do not know how to exist in the world.
Those who are reborn from slavery, as Beloved was reborn from her untimely death, experience a period of readjustment, much as Beloved did when she re-entered the world from beyond. As, ?everything dead coming back to life hurts,? Beloved felt the need to lash out at those who wronged her, to the extreme that it controlled her existence. It is conceivable that many former slaves felt as Beloved did,...