Why Can They See Color?

Color is a motif throughout Toni Morrison’s Beloved. I think that color has many different meanings in the book. It often symbolizes very specific things such as how the color red represents the traumatic experiences of the past and the desire to forget them. More importantly, I think that it is intentionally used to demonstrate the transition into becoming a complete human being.

Color shows up a lot after Baby Suggs’ and Sethe’s escapes and during the characters present life. Color represents emotions which is important because even though slaves can have emotions it shows how they are not valued because they are not treated as people. They are not able to have emotions or other human behaviors because they are not treated like them. When describing Baby Suggs death Sethe says “…pondered color her last years. She never had time to see, let alone enjoy it before…I don’t believe she wanted to get to red and I understand why because me and Beloved outdid ourselves with it” (237). Even after they escaped into the north there was still a possibility that they could be caught and taken back into the south. Even if this possibility did not occur they were treated differently because of the color of their skin. I think that she is able to see more color as she approaches death because she is starting to become the most free version of herself, a soul. She is no longer lesser than anyone because what divided her, her body, is no longer there. You are able to see color when you reach freedom because only then are you able to have emotions.

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