Analysis Of Toni Morrison 's ' Beloved '

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Mommy Issues: A “Beloved” Response Essay

Late in 1987, after being inspired by a fellow story of a female fugitive slave, Toni Morrison pens a novel about a runaway slave and her children. Although Morrison’s “Beloved” quickly became a best-seller, and even has a movie adaption, it still left the audience with many unanswered questions. This novel not only gave a voice to those who were often silenced in the male stories of slavery, but it also perfectly exemplified the relationship was between the mother and the child, and the effects of slavery. Much like Jacob’s autobiography, Morrison follows directly on the issue of shame, as the protagonist of this novel is often haunted by her actions following the passing of the Fugitive
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Arguably, Baby Suggs provides a maternal role for both Sethe and Denver as she nourishes and cares for them upon their arrival. Suggs, who is Halle’s mother, has previously been taken care of the Already Crawling? Baby, and the two boys prior to the girl’s arrival at her home in Ohio. Baby Suggs, who later reflects on why she chose to go by this name, symbolizes the beauty of nature and forgiveness, not only for Sethe, but the community around her. She very much symbolizes the healing process, and optimism for those that have been scarred by slavery. Yet, when she feels betrayed, Baby Suggs withdraws and results in both Sethe and Denver recoiling from society as well. As Suggs gave up preaching, she lost her faith in people and soon wasted away to mere ashes of the earth. However, it is important to note that unlike Sethe’s mother, Baby Suggs still has an effect upon the girls. In regards to the concept, Morrison exemplifies their relationship near page 173, when Sethe quotes “Lay it all down, sword and shield”--suggesting that she should face the reality of her actions.

However, the most significant mother-daughter relationship within the complexity of this novel comes in the relationships between Sethe, Denver, and Beloved. Boudreau states in her article “Pain and Unmasking of the Self in Toni Morrison’s Beloved” that “the maternal bonds between Sethe and her children inhibit her own individuation and prevent the development of her
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