Maternal Bond in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

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Maternal Bond in Toni Morrison's Beloved

The maternal bond between mother and kin is valued and important in all cultures. Mothers and children are linked together and joined: physically, by womb and breast; and emotionally, by a sense of self and possession. Once that bond is established, a mother will do anything for her child. In the novel Beloved, the author, Toni Morrison, describes a woman, Sethe, who's bond is so strong she goes to great lengths to keep her children safe and protected from the evil that she knows. She gave them the gift of life, then, adding to that, the joy of freedom. Determined to shield them from the hell of slavery, she took drastic measures to keep them from that life. But, in doing so, the
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Knowing the value of this rarity, Sethe was extremely attached to her children, and refused to lose them, lest she lose herself. The link between mother and child, then, is an important underlying theme throughout Beloved, and one with which Sethe became obsessed.

Sethe learned the value of motherhood from an early age. Not wanting the children of the white men that raped her, Sethe?s mother, Ma?am (as she is called in the book), threw all the unwanted children away. But, Sethe?s father was a black man whom Ma?am loved, and so she kept Sethe. Recalling the story, Sethe thinks back on what Nan (the woman who knew Sethe?s mother and raised Sethe, herself) said, ?She threw them all away but you. The one from the crew she threw away on the island. The others from more whites she also threw away. Without names, she threw them. You she gave the name of the black man? (Morrison, 62). Thus having an identity because of her mother, ?Sethe learns Ma?am?s history and grounds her personality in motherly-love? (Kubitcheck 123). Kubitcheck also says, ?mother-love offers the strongest defense against slavery. When Nan tells Sethe that her Ma?am chose to conceive and bear her, Sethe acquires the base on which to build feelings of self-worth? (135). She could also identify with her mother by the mark branded below Ma?am?s
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