Morrison's Use Of Flashbacks In Beloved By Toni Morrison

Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison, takes place in rural Ohio in the 1870s. The novel takes us through the life of Sethe, a slave woman who kills her baby to protect it from slavery. The story is told through the eyes of many characters through the use of flashbacks. These flashbacks are important because they are used to explain what is happening in present time. Morrison’s use of flashbacks through the characters helps the reader get a better understanding of the story while also giving the story the mood and interpretation it needs. The protagonist of this novel, Sethe, has the most important flashbacks.
Sethe’s flashbacks show the reader the events that led to why she kills her daughter. Sethe once lived on a farm called Sweet Home, where the slave owners were kind and proud of their slaves. After the owner of the farm dies, his wife calls her brother-in-law, schoolteacher, to help run the farm. He beats the slaves, and his nephews actually hold Sethe down while she is pregnant and suckle her. So, Sethe decides to run away with her children to save them. She is still pregnant when she runs away and actually has her baby while traveling to her mother-in-law Baby Suggs’ house. Her and her four children live in house 124 happily until schoolteacher shows up. Sethe takes all her children into the shed, and attempts to kill her children. She succeeds in killing one, who she later calls Beloved, because of what she could put on her tombstone. The spirit of the baby begins to haunt the house, eventually driving out Sethe’s two older sons and the death of Baby Suggs.She goes to jail, having to bring Denver along with her. She gets out, and 18 years after the killing, Paul D shows up. He was one of the Sweet Home slaves along with her. ...

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... that Beloved will go away again; after she realizes that it is her dead sister. She is then even more scared of her mother, because if Beloved is back, that feeling may come back and Sethe may try to harm them again.
Most of Beloved’stimeline takes place in the past. We get series of flashbacks from all different characters, leading up to the murder of her baby. Morrison creates her novel like this to entice the readers and to show the hardships many slaves faced. She shows the great determination of a slave woman whose love is “too thick”, according to Paul D. Sethe believes that killing her children would be better for them than dying at Sweet Home, or any other slave situation. She kills them so they will not be killed. The flashbacks of Sethe, Paul D, and Denver bring the story together to tie up loose ends and solve the confusion and sorrow in Sethe’s life.

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