Baby Suggs Dichotomy

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While the lash marks from whippings remain on their skins, the former slaves within Toni Morrison’s Beloved are scarred most by their mental trauma. While connecting to the community is used as part of the healing process, Morrison abolishes the concept that all communities are healing. Specifically, communities in which the relations of power are equal and members treated as ends in themselves are critical in overcoming adversity, while an imbalance of power, as well as seclusion, can incite the trauma from the beginning.
The dichotomy between collective support and an individual in isolation is evaporated as Paul D, struggles both in isolation and still faces deindividuation at the community of Sweet Home. Paul D, despite being treated
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Baby Suggs plays a critical role in self and communal healing as according to Cynthia, “Baby Suggs' definitive 'self' is a direct result of her rejecting the name given to her by white patriarchy... Baby Suggs never suffers from a loss of identity because of slavery”. Despite not knowing her real name, Baby Suggs affirms her own identity. Requiring no identity from her masters, parents, or even lover, Baby Suggs is the most self-actualized of all characters; while still needing her son’s help to legally be free, internally Baby Suggs is self driven., she is the marrow that creates her own blood, the heart that pumps it, and the muscles that propel herself forward. Baby Suggs goes on to use her skills in the Clearing to provide communal therapy for others. The Clearing acts as a curative force and the antithesis of harmful collectives such as Sweet Home; “laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up”(103) animates the contrast between the two types of community as the Clearing is depicted as a community that is an extension of the identities that form it, with synergy between its members as the laughter, crying, and dancing coalesce into one state of being. While the former slaves are physically free, their emotions remain incarcerated within them until they are emancipated through communion at the Clearing. Meanwhile, the community of Pauls at Sweet Home differ from the Clearing as it is a subversive community intended to mill away at each Pauls’ sense of self. Like an ant starving alone from its colony, a starling roosting away from its flock, or an angel failing isolated from its god, Toni Morrison in her magnum opus Beloved undoubtedly unveils the universally applicable principle of

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