Beloved - Toni Morrison

Beloved - Toni Morrison

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Confidence and violence: relationship between women in “Beloved”
The story told in “Beloved” contains a process of memorialization and change. In this process, the relationship between women is very important. Some relations are dominated by violence and hate, others are full of confidence and love. In those relationships rememory and storytelling are important factors, because the women get to know each other better by telling stories about the past. They get to know much more about each other, through which their relationship dóes change.
When Sethe arrives at 124 Bluestone Road, Baby Suggs doesn’t know her at all. She only knows Sethe ‘s her daughter-in-law, the woman who married her son Halle and who gave him four children. And yet she helps Sethe immediately. At 124 Bluestone Road, Baby Suggs creates a space, which provides warmth and certainty for Sethe and her children, just as 124 is for the whole community. “124 was … night long.” (p.86) I think it really adorns Baby Suggs that she was such a warm person, especially to Sethe and her children. In fact she opens her house and her heart to the whole community.
When Beloved arrives at 124, she immediately takes part of the family life. Sethe dóes really like it to have another daughter living with them and she’s flattered by Beloved’s open devotion. “Sethe was…his teacher.” (p. 50) Denver in the beginning also likes Beloved’s presence. The three become a real “family”: they ice skate, drink cocoa, dress up in bright colors and ribbons. Their relationship is mostly positive.
But as soon as Sethe understands who Beloved is, Beloved's claim on her is total. Sethe no longer goes to work; she attends to Beloved's wishes. Denver - who once was the most important person in Sethe’s life - tries to make claims on both Beloved as a sister and Sethe as a mother, but she is gradually shut out of the relationship. Sethe doesn’t want to tell much about her past to Denver, but to Beloved she tells nearly everything. “It became…incomplete reveries.” (p. 58)
Ultimately Denver and Sethe are bound to Beloved. The three are fixed on story-telling, although it hurts Sethe, she keeps telling nearly everything about her past to Beloved. One day, they go to the Clearing, a space in the wood that was "wide-open" and blessed, where it was “possible to love”. Sethe comes to this place to figure out what to do with her past.

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She takes Denver and Beloved with her. Then Beloved strangles Sethe, but Sethe misreads the touch as Baby Suggs's healing hands. Because of this wrong interpretation, Sethe doesn’t realise immediately that Beloved’s ideas and plans are not as pacific as they appear to be.
In brief, the relationships between women in “Beloved” are sometimes very sophisticated and they change in the course of the story. The relationship between Sethe and Baby Suggs is good from the beginning. Baby Suggs is very warm and helpful and gives Sethe a place to “restore her life”.
The relationship between Sethe-Denver and Beloved starts also good, they do lots of things together. But from the moment Beloved starts claiming Sethe thát much that Denver doesn’t like Beloved anymore, the relationship between Beloved and Denver contains nearly nothing but negative things. After a while the relationship between Sethe and Beloved also becomes less positive, Sethe realises that Beloved has got “bad plans”.
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