Justifying the Murder in Beloved by Toni Morrison Essay example

Justifying the Murder in Beloved by Toni Morrison Essay example

Length: 1165 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Justifying the Murder in Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved is a tale about slavery. The central character is Sethe, who
is an escaped slave. Sethe kills her child named Beloved to 'save
her'. The book is written so that different peoples points of view are
put forward in different chapters. Toni Morrison presents three types
of love relationships, parent-child, brotherly love and sexual
relationships - within or near the confines of slavery. Slavery
weakens the bond between mothers and there children. Three parent-
child relationships exhibited in Beloved are the bond between 'maa'm
and Sethe', Sethe and Beloved and Sethe and Denver. Their
relationships explore the bond between all the characters.

There are two ways of interpreting the killing of Beloved, Sethe could
be seen as saving her, motivated by true love or selfish pride? By
looking at the varying nature of Sethe, it can be said that, she is a
women who chooses to love her children but not herself. She kills the
baby, because in her mind, her children are the only part of her that
has not been soiled by slavery, she refuses to contemplate that by
showing this mercy she is committing a murder. Throughout Beloved,
Sethes duplistic character is displayed in the nature of her actions.
Shortly after her re-union with Paul D she describes her reaction to
schoolteachers arrival as 'Oh no, I wasn't going back there. I went to
jail instead' (P42) These words could be seen that Sethe was
portraying a moral stand by refusing to allow herself and her children
to be dragged back into the evil word of slavery. Clearly, Sethe
believes that her actions were justified from the beginning. . Wh...

... middle of paper ...

...remember is how she loved the bottom of bread. Can you beat that eight
children that's all I remember'. Like Paul D she adopts the practice
of 'loving only a little', accepting that she has no control over her
children's lives. Sethe's act of violence is in her not compromising a
right to love her own children. When Paul D criticises her for her
large claims, saying her love is 'too thick. She responds that 'Love
is or ain't. Thin love ain't love at all'. For Sethe love has no
bounds. Her ideas of right and wrong are confused. What we have is a
bizarre version of love - mother, daughter, and vengeful ghost, and
the book confirms that it is a prehistoric society which has caused
all this inhumane view of life. This leads to Sethe to her killing her


Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Knopf, 1987

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Love in Toni Morrison's "Beloved"

- Love is said to be one of the most desired things in life. People long for it, search for it, and crave it. It can come in the form of partners, friends, or just simply family. To some, love is something of a necessity in life, where some would rather turn a cold shoulder to it. Love can be the mixture of passion, need, lust, loyalty, and blood. Love can be extraordinary and breathtaking. Love being held so high can also be dangerous. Love can drive people to numerous mad things with it dangerously so full of craze and passion....   [tags: Love, Toni Morrison, Beloved,]

Good Essays
648 words (1.9 pages)

Use of Violence in Beloved by Toni Morrison Essay

- As much as society does not want to admit, violence serves as a form of entertainment. In media today, violence typically has no meaning. Literature, movies, and music, saturated with violence, enter the homes of millions everyday. On the other hand, in Beloved, a novel by Toni Morrison, violence contributes greatly to the overall work. The story takes place during the age of the enslavement of African-Americans for rural labor in plantations. Sethe, the proud and noble protagonist, has suffered a great deal at the hand of schoolteacher....   [tags: Beloved, Toni Morrison]

Good Essays
675 words (1.9 pages)

Character of Beloved in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

- The Character of Beloved in Toni Morrison's Beloved Perhaps one of the most important issues in Toni Morrison's award-winning novel Beloved is Morrison's intentional diversity of possible interpretations. However the text is looked at and analyzed, it is the variety of these multiple meanings that confounds any simple interpretation and gives the novel the complexity. The debate rages on over many topics, but one issue of central and basic importance to the understanding of the novel is defining the different possibilities for interpreting the title character....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Good Essays
2498 words (7.1 pages)

The Ghost of Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay examples

- The Ghost of Beloved One of the most engaging arguments about Toni Morrison’s book Beloved is centered around the nature of the girl Beloved. The argument is whether Beloved is simply a young woman who herself had suffered the horrors of slavery, or the ghost of Sethe’s crawling already. baby girl. The evidence shows that Morrison intended Beloved to be the ghost of the crawling already. girl. It has been said that there are basically two reasons why ghosts walk: they have either unfinished business to attend to of have died a very violent death....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Good Essays
1501 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on Symbols and Symbolism in Toni Morrison's Beloved

- Symbolism in Beloved Toni Morrison enhances the effectiveness of Beloved with symbolism. This symbolism has a myriad of origins as well as forms. Number symbols come from astrological sources, while characters' names are allusions from ancient Egyptian mythology, the Bible, and African culture. Furthermore, important color symbols are discernible throughout the novel. From the very beginning of Beloved, the number 124 is distinguishable. In fact, it appears as the first character of each book of the novel....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Free Essays
611 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on The Goddess in Toni Morrison's Beloved

- The concept of the goddess--especially in her three-fold embodiment as maiden, mother, and crone-is amazingly persistent for writers who want to explore gender roles. In particular, Toni Morrison uses the triple goddess to consider varieties of "male" and "female" thinking and to see how many roles an individual may wind up playing. The goddess we are concerned with in this Essay is many and yet one. She is a moon goddess, with triple aspects. Ths most common names she has traveled under are Artemis, Selene, and Hecate....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Good Essays
1725 words (4.9 pages)

Mother-Daughter Relationship in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

- The Mother-Daughter Relationship in Toni Morrison's Beloved In Toni Morrison novel, Beloved , the author creates a mother-daughter relationship in which the mother Sethe, out of love, murders her daughter Beloved to free and protect her from the harshness of slavery. Because of this, the baby ghost of her deceased daughter haunts her conscience and is later resurrected to further torment Sethe about her act of love. From the time she slits the throat of her infant daughter and until the end of the novel, we are associated with the justifications of Sethe's actions and become understanding of Morrison's use of this conflict to recreate history in relaying the harshness of slaver...   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Good Essays
694 words (2 pages)

The Style of Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay examples

- Style Analysis of Beloved In the 500 word passage reprinted below, from the fictional novel Beloved, Toni Morrison explains the pent-up anger and aggression of a man who is forced to keep a steady stance when in the presence of his white masters. She uses simple language to convey her message, yet it is forcefully projected. The tone is plaintively matter-of-fact; there is no dodging the issue or obscure allusions. Because of this, her work has an intensity unparalleled by more complex writing....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Good Essays
1106 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about Memory in Toni Morrison's Beloved

- Memory in Toni Morrison's Beloved     Memories are works of fiction, selective representations of experiences actual or imagined. They provide a framework for creating meaning in one's own life as well as in the lives of others. In Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, memory is a dangerous and debilitating faculty of human consciousness. Sethe endures the tyranny of the self imposed prison of memory. She expresses an insatiable obsession with her memories, with the past. Sethe is compelled to explore and explain an overwhelming sense of yearning, longing, thirst for something beyond herself, her daughter, her Beloved....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved memorybel]

Good Essays
803 words (2.3 pages)

Rememory in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

- Rememory in Toni Morrison's Beloved To survive, one must depend on the acceptance and integration of what is past and what is present. In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison carefully constructs events that parallel the way the human mind functions; this serves as a means by which the reader can understand the activity of memory. "Rememory" enables Sethe, the novel's protagonist, to reconstruct her past realities. The vividness that Sethe brings to every moment through recurring images characterizes her understanding of herself....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Good Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)