A Comparison of Beloved and Don Quixote Essay

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On reading Beloved by Toni Morrison and Don Quixote by Kathy Acker, there seem to be quite a few similarities in themes and characters contained in these texts, the most prevalent of which seems to be of love and language as a path to freedom. We see in Acker’s Don Quixote the abortion she must have before she embarks on a quest for true freedom, which is to love. Similarly, in Morrison’s Beloved, there is a kind abortion, the killing of Beloved by Sethe, which results in and from the freedom that real love provides. And in both texts, the characters are looking for answers and solutions in these "word-shapes" called language. In Acker’s Don Quixote, the abortion with which the novel opens is a precondition for surrendering the…show more content…
In Morrison’s Beloved, Sethe has two "abortions." The first and most obvious is the act of infanticide in killing Beloved. The second "abortion" is Sethe "getting fucked" by the grave-digger. This abortion, like Acker’s protagonist, creates a name. The name is Beloved – a "word-shape" representing true love, or freedom. For Sethe, to love also becomes a testament of freedom. For having been owned by others (like Acker’s patriarchy) meant that her claim to love was not her own. She could not love her children, "love ‘em proper in Kentucky because they wasn’t [hers] to love" (Beloved 162). Paul D understands that "to get a place where you could love anything you choose … well now that was freedom" (Beloved 162), but he is also bound to his slave mentality to overcome his fear. He considers Sethe’s unconditional love "risky": "For a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love" (Beloved 45). The far safer way was "to love just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack, well, maybe you’d have a little love left over for the next one" (Beloved 45). It is this compromised love that even Baby Suggs accepted – despite her magnificent sermon in the Clearing on loving one’s self – knowing that her slave master would take her children away. And it is this "weak love" that Paul D tells Sethe she must accept (a patriarchal love, as Acker

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