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Essay about Slavery in Beloved, by Toni Morrison

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Beloved


“Beloved” is the story of a young black woman's escape from slavery in the
nineteenth century, and the process of adjusting to a life of freedom. Most people
associate slavery with shackles, chains, and back breaking work. What they do
not realize is the impact of the psychological and emotional bondage of slavery. In
order for a slave to be truly free, they had to escape physically first, and once that
was accomplished they had to confront the horror of their actions and the memories
that a life in chains had left behind. For Sethe, slavery is not over, at least not in
her mind, and beloved serves as a form of therapy by drawing out the painful
memories and giving Sethe a second chance to right her wrongs.

During the last few days at Sweet home, Sethe was made to suffer more than
any human being should have to. She and her husband Halle had decided to take
their three children and flee to Ohio, Where Halles mother, Baby Suggs lived. On
the day they were to leave, Halle was nowhere to be found. Sethe decided to wait
for him and sent the children ahead by themselves. Before she could find Halle and
escape, the caretaker of Sweet home, a man they called School teacher, allowed
his two sons to take Sethe into the barn, hold her down and suck the milk from her
breasts. Sethe told Mrs. Garner, the lady of the house, hoping that something
would be done, but when the boys found out they whipped her back so badly it was
almost completely opened up. To make matters worse, Sethe was pregnant with
her fourth child. She decided that she couldn’t wait for Halle any longer and fled by
herself. After running for a number of miles, Sethes feet could carry her no further

...


... middle of paper ...


...entioning later that he just thought it
was some colored women fighting. Beloved disappeared right after that, and never
returned.

What happened during the days Beloved was at 124 and what happened
before she disappeared were turning points in the battle for Sethe to gain her
freedom. Beloved had inspired her to share her most deeply kept secrets. She had
helped her to recall memories that would have left her in the slave mindset. But
most importantly, Beloved gave Sethe another chance. A chance to prove her
devotion to a child she had murdered. A chance to stay by her side no matter how
much it hurt, and most importantly, a second chance to make a stand. Trying to

kill her children was nothing more than running and hiding. By going after Mr.
Bodwin instead of her children, she proved to herself that she was free, free in
every way.


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