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Toni Morrison's Beloved: Slavery And Motherhood

Better Essays
Kelly Conrad
Mr. Sieker
Engl. 1520-2101
17 April 2015 Beloved: Slavery and Motherhood The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison captures punishing hardships that were endured through slavery in the 1800’s, as well as life at home. Sethe is not only a recently freed slave, but a mother struggling to guard and maintain normality for her children. In this story of manipulation and negligence, there is a war between memories of slavery, motherhood, and searching for what she hopes to be an ideal life for herself. Slavery and racism in America began solely in the 1600 's when African slaves were transported to the American Colony of Jamestown Virginia in 1619. The African slaves were brought to America to speed up the production and distribution
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The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed by the United States Congress on September 18th, 1850. This act stated that all fugitive slaves were to be returned to their original masters, and must obey this law. After numerous years of torment and manipulation, freedom was in prospect when a man named Abraham Lincoln won the presidency. Abraham Lincoln had strong antislavery views and was determined to put an end to the havoc and violation the African American slaves went through. After a long battle to free slaves, on January 1st, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln declared that "slaves within any State, or designated part of a State…in rebellion,…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free" (Lincoln, 1863). More than three million black slaves were officially free and finally able to create a life for themselves based off of their own beliefs and morals. The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison perfectly captures the history and abuse of slavery. Sethe, an escaped slave, has dedicated her time to creating a life for her and for her family. When the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was passed, Sethe knows that this means her children will have to become slaves,…show more content…
As Sethe struggles to become a better mother for Denver, she becomes enslaved by her own children. They both seem to have equal power, which at times causes confusion between who knows best. Throughout the story, we see the obvious torture and mutilation that Sethe goes through as a woman slave. She was constantly taken advantage of, beaten up, talked down to, and molested. But, as the story progresses we see that most of Sethe’s hardships are from her own children. The burden of her dead baby, the anger of her daughter, and the disappearance of her two sons causes Sethe to become trapped in her own sorrow. Although Sethe is enslaved by her children, she still shows a strong compassion towards them, and only wants want is best for
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