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. The crawling already? girl fits both of these profiles. She died without growing up, without knowing why she died. As a result, she has unfinished business with her mother, Sethe. The crawling already? girl’s death was also horribly violent. Her mother cut her throat with a saw in the cold shed, rather than have her and her children be brought back into slavery.
Many of the clues that indicate Beloved is actually the ghost of the baby girl are within the passages where she first arrives at the house on Bluestone Road. Each of these things put together support the idea that Toni Morrison intended Beloved to be the ghost of the crawling already? baby girl.
The first clue is that she "had what sounded like asthma", meaning that her breathing was labored. If Beloved is the ghost, it would make sense that she would have trouble breathing; after all, because the windpipe is found in the neck, and Beloved’s neck was nearly severed, her windpipe would have to have been severed also. She would have quick, raspy breathing, as people with asthma have when they can’t hold a breath.
Earlier in the book, Morrison talked about how the ghost slammed Here Boy into ...
... middle of paper ...
...of the bread that Baby Suggs gave her. The burnt bottom pieces of the bread could have reminded her of the river that they crossed to get to 124. The river could have looked black because they crossed at night.
When all of the information is tallied up and the clues counted, all of the evidence points to the fact that Beloved is not a real woman, but the spirit if the baby girl come to life. She could have reanimated the body from the hunter’s cabin that Stamp Paid made a passing reference to, or maybe she created the body herself, and that’s why she was so worried it would fall apart. That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that all of the evidence points to the fact that somehow, Beloved did come back to life. She is truly the ghost of the crawling already? baby girl.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York, Penguin Books USA Inc, 1988.
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