"Beloved" by Toni Morrison. Relationship between Sethe and Beloved

Essay by mckA, December 2002

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In Toni Morrison Beloved, the main character Sethe must confront the past and Beloved in order to heal the wounds it has caused. The main character Sethe is disturbed by the traumas of racism and slavery, which caused her to kill her first infant name Beloved. Throughout the novel, Sethe works hard to avoid the past, which has caused her nothing but pain and horror while she was at the Sweet Home. The relationship between Sethe and Beloved takes an inverse role when Beloved resurfaces. Sethe, in particular, shows the tendency to hold back the past; but until she faces Beloved, she truly cannot enjoy the future. The key to her happiness is to get rid of the effect that slavery had on her.

The main character Sethe understands the tragedy of being a slave, and being treated as an animal. She is determined that her own children should not go through the same treatment she has received at the hands of white slaveholders.

Her main antagonist is the system of slavery and she knew the pain it had caused her, both directly and indirectly. She barely seen her mother as an infant and was never looked after properly because of this she was never nurtured properly. When she has her own children, she is determined to do her best and to make sure that

her sons and daughters do not go through the same life pattern of slavery that she had been through. Therefore she believes that by killing them they would not become slaves, but go to a better place. In order to keep her children from becoming slaves to Sweet Home, she tries to murder all four of them but only succeeds in killing her oldest daughter with the intention of giving her a...