Several relationships are found in Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved. The story comprises of interactions between relationships and how the people learn to deal with the fact that they were once slaves on a plantation. The two motherly figures Sethe and Baby Suggs both cared greatly for their children and suffered a great deal from slavery. Their roles as mothers serve as a common ground, allowing them to communicate and develop a close relationship. Mothers all have one thing in common, the love for a child. Sethe has four children who she loves but her past with slavery conflicts with her emotions. She cannot not deal with the pain of her children being sent back to Sweet Home, the slave plantation Sethe came from, so she tries to murder them. She is successful with one child, Beloved, but fails to kill Denver, Howard and Buglar. The community shuns her for the heinous act and the mother is converted into an outcast. Her natural and motherly instincts force her to do what was in her right mind to save her children. She has to save them from the schoolteacher and slavery most of all. Sethe’s tragic past experience with slavery and degradation is what she tries to steer clear of at all cost for her children. The struggle to save her children by murdering them makes Sethe a very unique, yet controversial mother.
Baby Suggs is also a motherly figure. She is probably the most universal motherly figure because she cared for everybody, including slave runaways. The ex-slaves would come to her for aide and she provides support by preaching in her own untrained, spiritual, method. Toni Morrison provides an archetypal mother to see how Sethe compares with the ideal mother. Baby Suggs is caring and understanding of Sethe’s actions, but still has a hard time adapting to the situation.
When Sethe meets Stamp Page and is brought to Baby Suggs’ home, she is taken care and provided for. She is immediately treated too and so is her ragged baby. Baby Suggs gave nurturing support and advice to Sethe on how to care for her children. The scene where the two mothers are together and Sethe breastfeeds Denver for the first time exemplifies the common relationship that all mothers have to care for their young. The serenity of the scene and how Morrison describes the light filled room as peaceful, instilling a cheerful mood to the reader. The reader understands that the Sethe is happy for the same time, and the reader also feels happy for Sethe. The reader also receives a general understanding of how fulfilling motherhood is, as little Denver reaches for her mother’s earrings.
The role of mother can only be bestowed on one person. Originally Baby Suggs was the first mother, since she is the oldest. Then as Sethe stays at 124 and cares for her own children, she assumes the position of caretaker. Baby Suggs no longer has any obligations to Sethe or her children and she quietly assumes the position of mother in the household. Baby Suggs bitterly resents that Sethe has taken control, but she knows it was not intentional.
Both the mothers have tragic experiences with loss, making their mother-to-mother bond even closer. Baby Suggs has already lost her children to slavery. The only child she has left is Halle and he is very affectionate toward Baby Suggs by the great sacrifice he makes. Sethe loses her child to slavery, because she wants to rescue them from the rape, torture, and degradation of being a slave.
Both mothers also had to deal specifically with rejection from the community. They also hold in common that they are both made outcasts by society. Baby Suggs is so happy celebrating baby Denver’s arrival that she does not take into consideration her actions when making such a ostentatious feast. Then later on, Sethe’s murderous actions are ridiculed by the community and they are both isolated from society. Due to these conditions, there bond was able to develop even closer and the mothers were able to support themselves.
Indeed the mothers had to make large sacrifices to save their children. They were able to share this common loss and create a universal relationship. It represents the bond that all mothers should have, to be able to share in the joys and sorrows of being a mother, and being able to support each other.
None of the women had an actual husband. When one thinks of a mother, there also has to be a father and it is usually the husband. There are no husbands except Halle in this novel, and even Halle is gone. The mothers were able to care for their children without the help of a male role model and are independent women. Support for each other was needed more then ever because of the difficulty of a single-working mother. Not only has Sethe and Baby Suggs survived the hardships of slavery, but they also continue to endure as single-working mothers, which is a remarkable task. All these factors of being a women, living through slavery, having children without a domestic partner, are all factors that make the struggle more unique and more arduous. Morrison is also hinting at the thought of women’s rights, and even individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. She challenges the traditional role of a mother working on only domestic chores and having no thought of her own. Sethe is a strong and beautiful mother who works, cares for her children, and dares to challenge society’s laws. It is a bit ironic how Sethe’s weakness was loving too much, yet she is so strong and independent. She is strong enough to be an independent mother who has been isolated from society for several years, but her one weakness to Beloved is loving too much.
The relationship between Sethe and Baby Suggs was based on their role as mothers. They each had experienced losses of mutual discomfort and needed the support of each other to survive the rehabilitation after slavery. Each mother was able to share their feelings with the other and they found a common ground, their love for children, which enabled them to communicate and develop a close emotional and spiritual tie.
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Beloved Sample essay topic, essay writing: Beloved - 1038 words
By: Anonymous Justin Vieira January 23, 2000 SUPA WRT 105 Mrs. Weiss I Love Mommy #3 "Inside, two boys [Howard and Buglar] bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a nigger woman [Sethe] holding a blood-soaked child [Beloved] to her chest with one hand Beloved by Toni Morrison, Paper Toni Morrison shows how the past can affect the present relationships in Beloved. Sethe an ex-slave who ran away from Sweet Home, a slave plantation, in order to escape the drudgery and humiliation of slavery, shall forever be haunted by the past. In her escape, she tries to kill her children, and succeeds in killing A Review of Literary Criticism: "Beloved" Erica Baurmeister was the author of the first critical analysis that I read. In her brief review of the book she says that Beloved is no longer the traditional novel. In this book slavery has torn apart one’s own heritage and the death of a baby creates such a rage that it literally rocks the A Mothers Love The idea of a ghost story or horror story has long since been introduced into the world of American literature starting in the late 18th century. These works played with the idea of life after death and its effects on the present. The term gothic or gothic horror has been used to describe this form Beloved By Toni Morrison (review) Sample essay topic, essay writing: Beloved By Toni Morrison (review) - 457 words
Cincinnati, Ohio, 183. 124 Bluestone Road. Only a mother, Sethe, and her daughter Denver, are living in a haunted house. They are African ex-slaves, survivors of a painful and traumatic life. It is Paul D, another slave from "Sweet Home", that suddenly comes,