We Shouldn’t Look Away from Stories like Beloved

When 12 Years a Slave came out in 2013, people were shocked at the violence and atrocities they witnessed on screen. They sat in disturbance as they watched Solomon Northup be forced back in to slavery and endure the cruelty of a vile slave owner played by Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Looking back, the oscar-worthy buzz surrounding it reminds me of the controversy surrounding Joker. It’s brutal and far from comfortable, but it boasts fantastic acting, seamless transitions, and  necessary origin stories. But, in both cases people were saying that they had to look away during especially violent scenes. It’s no surprise as in 12 Years a Slave you saw the cruelty upfront with lynching, brazen whippings, and painful sexual encounters. It was a landmark movie because for one of the first times in Hollywood, the story was told from a slave’s first-hand perspective . Unlike Gone with the Wind or even The Help, slavery is not whitewashed or romanticized in any way. The same holds true for Morrison’s Beloved. Since they are from the perspective of former slaves, it can be hard to watch and read at times, but it’s important that we do.

When someone told Morrison at a book reading that they couldn’t read parts of novel because its was so terrible, she responded, “People had these things done to them, they experienced them and they survived them. The least we can do is to write them, and read them, and talk about them.” Beloved, though in the 3rd person for most of the novel, is largely from Sethe’s perspective as we are taken through her intense flashbacks of Sweethome and her journey to 124. Morrison’s language captures the trauma that Sethe went through decades after escaping. As readers, we get the sense that the kind of trauma Sethe experienced is inescapable. Beloved was definitely hard to read at times.  12 Years a Slave was hard to watch. But it’s important to see the full story and actually read from the perspectives of people who went through such horrific things. Morrison was able to recover a story from the past that is often overlooked in Hollywood and even history classes I’ve taken.

Every Breath You Take: Sting and Beloved

It’s been commonly inferred by the public that The Police’s 1983 smash hit ‘Every Breath You Take’ is about a man a stalking a woman, in this case the band’s front-man Sting and his recently divorced wife Frances Tomelty.

While Sting has even backed the claim that the song is about a mans’ obsession with a lost lover, it’s possible that when he finished reading the book Beloved by Toni Morrison, he wanted to write a song from the perspective of one of the book’s most important figures: Beloved.

Sethe, the novel’s protagonist, killed Beloved, her child, when she was a baby to save her from going into slavery. Since her death, Beloved has haunted her family’s house, throwing dogs and having temper tantrums.

However, one day Beloved comes back to life, showing up at the house, tired and confused. Although some initial confusion, Sethe, her other daughter Denver, and her boyfriend Paul D let Beloved stay at the house for as long as she would like.

Although it is not discovered until later in the book that Beloved is in fact Sethe’s late daughter, Beloved gives major hints when talking about Sethe to Denver and Paul D.

In one instance, Beloved tells Denver that Sethe ” is the one. She is the one I need. You can go but she is the one I have to have.”

Later telling Paul D that Sethe “don’t love me like I love her. I don’t love nobody but her.”

These quotes alone resemble the lyrics of ‘Every Breath You Take.’

“Every breath you take and every move you make
Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you
Every single day and every word you say
Every game you play, every night you stay, I’ll be watching you.”

“Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace
I dream at night, I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep crying, “Baby, baby, please”.”

After her death Beloved shows her love by haunting Sethe and her family, watching every move they make and every breath they take.

When Beloved comes to life she is obsessed with Sethe and says she can love nothing else.

While it’s still likely that the song is about Sting’s dangerous stalking habit, there is still a chance that he had just finished reading Beloved and wanted to write a song about 124’s ghost, Beloved.

Passion of a Mother

In Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, the character that is focused on the most throughout the whole text is Sethe. Sethe is a strong, independent women and mother. Her strong motherly instincts are perhaps the most distinct characteristic of her, even leading her to great extremes.

Part I of Beloved ends with Sethe saying, “It ain’t my job to know what’s worse. It’s my job to know what is and to keep them away from what I know is terrible. I did that” (194). At this point in the novel, the reader is beginning to get hints at the big secret of the novel, until it is finally revealed.

Sethe truly believes that when “the four horsemen” came to 124, she did the right thing for her children. She believes that killing her baby and trying to kill the rest of her children would have been better for them than a life of slavery. Her quote on page 194 reveals that she truly believed that this was right.

Image result for margaret garner

The brutality, cruelty, and horrors of slavery pushed a mother, who loved her children more than anything, to do the unspeakable. Sethe believed that dying would be better for her beloved children more than slavery. This scary and astonishing truth, reveals the true and absolute horror of slavery and what knowing the truth about being a slave can push someone to do.

Image result for horrors of slavery

Why are Eyes so Prevalent in Beloved?

“Halle’s girl-the one with iron eyes” 

“It must have been her eyes that kept him both guarded and stirred up”

“Sethe’s eyes bright but dead”

“The man without skin, looking. He is looking at her.” 

Moving through the course of the story, I noticed a repetitive nature when discussing the characters eyes. I pondered over the reasoning behind Morrison’s discussion of the gaze at vital moments, such as the point where Beloved pushes Sethe around and the first intimate moment between Paul D and Sethe. 

When analyzing the meaning behind Morrison’s discussion of the character’s eyes, I realized that it serves as a window into past experiences. As the story focuses on different moments of time, and the impact that slavery had on the present lives of character, the repetitive use of eyes furthers emphasizes the individualized trauma that characters experienced. It does this by giving direct insight into lives and their emotional state. In fact, the repeated mention of eyes connects to the larger theme of the novel, the idea that while trauma negatively impacts individuals, they must acknowledge it to recover rather than repress. 

At first, I found the book a little challenging to process. The constant shift in not only perspectives but also time make the novel a more abstract than most. However, both the emphasis on eyes and technical elements used in the novel ultimately made the story a powerful and unique piece of literature.

We All Have Our Tobacco Tins

In Chapter 10 of Beloved, the narrator explains, “It was some time before [Paul D] could put Alfred, Georgia, Sixo, schoolteacher, Halle, his brothers, Sethe, Mister, the taste of iron, the sight of butter, the smell of hickory, notebook paper, one by one, into the tobacco tin lodged in his chest. By the time he got to 124 nothing in this world could pry it open” (Morrison).

Paul D grew up as a slave at Sweet Home. Although he is no longer a slave, he is burdened with the terrible memories of his past. Instead of dealing with these memories and emotions, he instead chooses to repress them and lock them deep inside of him.

In 2019, although we have not suffered through slavery, many of us have gone through traumatic experiences in our lives. Different people have different ways of coping with these experiences, but a common method is to avoid dealing with them all together. It can be easier to pretend that they don’t exist than to face the issue head on and the pain that inevitably comes with. Each of us would be lying if we said we had never once repressed a painful memory and locked it into our own personal tobacco tins. But as it is demonstrated in Beloved, there really is no escaping our pasts.

People Will Help You Get By

In the book Beloved a central theme of community is brought upon the reader when reading the book. Sethe finds a sense of self through her black community when escaping slavery. Baby Suggs comes into the equation by being such a vital part of this community, making her a main character in the book. As African Americans, Sethe and Baby Suggs feel isolated from many different communities in their lives. Creating this community allowed both of them to feel like they had a place somewhere and could not feel so isolated anymore. Even when Sethe is facing charges, her community helps her through the situation, provides her with a sense of relief. This makes me think about how the different communities in our lives can make us feel a sense of relief. Whether that be a community of playing a sport or attending some type of religious meeting, people can create communities that can help change peoples lives and perspectives. With community also comes power, which is seen when the community is rescuing Sethe. As a community builds, it gains power in some way, whether that is within that community or that power is brought outside of it, something is to be said about the things a community can create.

Aurora’s “Winter Bird” Resembles Sethe’s Journey

In Beloved, Sethe spends a good portion of the novel remembering her hazardous trek to 124 after she had escaped from Sweet Home. She recounts how she had to walk through cold and trying conditions while she was pregnant with Denver. The stunning imagery that Toni Morrison uses to describe this journey parallels the lyrics and overall tone of the song “Winter Bird” by Aurora.

When listening to this song, a few lines caught my attention in particular. The first I noticed was, “like the naked trees.” Aurora then goes on to ask if they will ever wake up again or if they have dreams. I found this line to parallel Beloved‘s motif of trees during Sethe’s journey. The trees themselves serve as a symbol for the overall mechanism of slavery, while the tree Aurora describes symbolizes her own dreams and curiosities.

Another line that struck me as similar to Morrison’s novel was the phrase “lay me by the frozen river, where the boats have passed me by.” This line stood out to me because it reminded me of when Sethe was giving birth to Denver in a boat. She has to have her baby in such horrid conditions because most of the white people do not care enough to help her, similar to how Aurora feels that the boats do not see her as important enough to stop for.

When Aurora sings the main line of the chorus “all I need is to remember, how it was to feel alive,” I couldn’t help but think of Sethe’s journey from Sweet home to 124. Specifically, this reminded me of the scene that Sethe recalls when Amy was massaging Sethe’s feet. Amy states that “anything dead coming back to life hurts.” Similar to Aurora, Sethe’s feet probably don’t remember the feeling of being alive.

Finally, the last line that stood out to me was “only wake each morning to remember that your’e gone.” I found this line to be especially powerful because it resembles Sethe’s emotional journey after she leaves Halle. She constantly wakes up every morning hoping that he will come back to her, but after a while, she knows that he is gone forever. She also looses her children later in her story and knows they will not come back to her.

Along with the lyrics themselves, the sad and heavy tone that Aurora sings this song with contributes to its similarities with the book Beloved. The book is not a happy one, so the tone of the book also has a heaviness to it. All in all, the tone and the words of this song paint a similar picture to that of Sethe’s memory.

“Winter Bird” by AURORA

Denver and Her Fight Against the Aftermath

In Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, she focuses on writing about after the life of a slave and even generations that did not belong to slavery w ere still majorly effected by it.

Denver is Sethe’s fourth and last child that she has while escaping to the North to freedom. Denver will never know what life was like as a slave, and that is thanks to her mother but she is pressured by what lies in front of her because of the past.

Denver hears stories of the past lives her mother and grandmother lived and things they did when Denver was only a baby. the trauma and oppression Sethe and Baby Suggs felt as being slaves follows them even in good times. Denver who was not part of slavery also can feel the oppression by not getting an equal opportunity in many things, being wary of the outside world, and feeling lonely even with loved ones around her.

Throughout the book Denver becomes more independent and stronger. She overcomes the bad things that were dealt to her at birth. She reaches out to others, she stands up against people she thought were good, and she did not stop.

Overall, life after slavery is neither glamorous, perfect, or easy. But it is the fight to overcome these events to make life worth living and loving.

Beloved Symbolism

Beloved is a very intriguing book, as Toni Morrison shows her incredible writing technique. One of Morrison’s many impressive writing skills is her ability to weave many different narratives together. Beloved’s story is particularly well crafted and hints to the message of the entire novel.

In her own chapter in part two of the novel, Beloved begins to recount events that seem totally random to the reader, given the rest of the story. She says, “I am Beloved…there will never be a time when I am not crouching and watching the others that are crouching too…the man on my face is dead…we are all trying to leave our bodies behind,” (248).

It becomes clear to the reader that the experiences that Beloved is describing her experiences with slavery on the middle passage, which at first was confusing to me because those events seemed to occur at the beginning of slavery, whereas the story told in the novel occurs at its’ tail end. When Beloved started to describe the relief of death from these circumstances, it reminded me of Sethe’s own reasoning for killing her children. She believed that death was less painful than living in captivity. Clearly, Beloved shares the same mentality as she is on the middle passage when she is longing to die as the other slaves on the middle passage had. The fact that Beloved is Sethe’s dead daughter that Sethe killed for the same reason, makes Beloved representative of the greater trauma that black people as a whole have experienced in America at the hand of slavery. These people would rather die than suffer in captivity, explaining Sethe’s actions in the novel.

Rose Colored Past

I remember there being a massive gas meter or electrical box near my house growing up. It was a colossal eyesore, so the company that owned it painted it blue. A nice shade of blue. This is what some of the characters from Toni Morrison’s Beloved do to their pasts. Paint a pretty color on it.

the earliest example of this starts out in the first chapter of the book. Sethe’s mother in law Baby Suggs spends the final 8 years of her life an invalid staring out the window and looking at the pretty colors that the clouds make. We later discover the person she was before this. She was a strong pillar of the community, even so that everyone envied her. A sacred holy preacher, turned into a shell of her former self following the murder of her granddaughter by Sethe. Unable to understand the horror show that was before her, she gave up. Sat on her bed and looked at the pretty colors.

After Sethe killed her 2 year old daughter to keep her from re-entering slavery, she gave her a tombstone. On it bore the word Beloved, not being able to afford the word dearly, painted pink. A light pastel pink, painted the past away. This white washing of the past ties into the main theme of the story. In the book Beloved comes back reincarnated as what she would be if she survived that day. After integrating herself in Sethe’s family she begins to Isolate Sethe and bleed her dry. Here the books theme of one’s inability to come to terms with the past and let it go is tied with color. In Sethe’s lowest point, practically banishing everyone in her life baring Beloved, she spends what little money she has on candy and pretty yellow ribbons. this is the ultimate expression of the previous two points.

The past of the characters is an eye sore. one that instead of coming to terms with it, they paint it a pretty color.

Denver’s Agency

As I read Beloved, I kept expecting a romantic interest for Denver to be introduced. However, as I kept reading, I noticed there is a lack of romantic love throughout the book. Sethe and Paul D. get together, but even that relationship seems to blossom out of the need for an escape, the need to remember the past, not just love for each other. Even Halle and Sethe’s relationship is described as familial, not romantic. I think that Toni Morrison chose not to give Denver a romantic interest because it would take away her agency.

A romantic interest would have hindered Denver’s growth and made her arc shallow. If Denver had a romantic interest that swept her off her feet, that boy would have been the reason she separated from Beloved and Sethe. She would not have had to make the conscious decision to get help without knowing that she would have anyone to return to. Denver’s power comes from her actions. Without a boy, she is only influenced by her mind, not someone else.

A Ghost’s Purpose

Throughout the story Beloved by Toni Morrison, a few questions were constantly in the back of my head… Why do ghosts haunt certain people? And, why ins’t there millions of ghosts haunting millions of people? Do only some dead people get to come back as ghosts?

After doing some research and finding some strange websites, I found a lot of ghost stories and a lot of different opinions. One opinion believed by J.K Rowling worshipers is that ghosts are only wizards or witches that choose to come back after death, but “muggles (humans)” can not come back as ghosts. So maybe all ghosts are wizards and witches and kept it a very good secret. (https://www.wizardingworld.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/ghosts)

Another article had the idea that if people die in a place, they will come back in haunt that place. So what about hospitals? Why aren’t there a ton of ghosts in hospitals? (https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/historical-ghost-stories)

After asking Google a bunch of ghosts questions, I got a lot of different ghost stories, and found that ghosts aren’t very consistent. Some ghosts appear in certain places or haunt different people, or maybe they are late wizards.

To connect this back to Beloved, Beloved, who haunts 124, seems as if she is just at the house because she likes the company of Sethe and Denver. However, towards the end of the story people start going crazy and Sethe ends up killing Beloved in order to save herself and her daughter.

In conclusion, from reading a couple of ghost stories and Beloved, none of them seemed like Casper the friendly ghost. Ghosts seem to be scary, spooky creatures at the end of the day, even if they seemed nice at first.

What is the Significance of Breast Milk?

*slight spoilers for Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon*

When first reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved, I tried my best to be a good Nabokovian reader and approach the novel as something brand new, but as the story progressed, I couldn’t help myself from drawing similarities between Beloved and Song of Solomon, another acclaimed novel of Morrison’s.

Not only do the novels have similar storytelling techniques and sentence structures, but they even share several central themes and motifs. Both novels have roots in slavery, even though they are both set in post-slavery America and have central characters who were born into freedom. Milkman, the great-grandson of a slave, tries to uncover his family history, whereas Sethe, a former slave, tries to hide her past as a slave from her children. 

There was one particular motif that I was quite surprised to find in both novels: breast milk. In Song of Solomon, Macon Dead III is given the nickname “Milkman” because when he was four years old, he was caught by a neighbor breastfeeding from his mother. His mother breastfeeds him for such a long time because it is the only physical intimacy she has with another human being. Their community views the exchange of breast milk between Milkman and his mother as inappropriate and incestual. In contrast, in Beloved, breastfeeding is seen as the ultimate expression of maternal love in an intimate and affectionate but not sexual way. 

“All I knew was I had to get my milk to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me. Nobody was going to get it to her fast enough, or take it away when she had enough and didn’t know it. Nobody knew that she couldn’t pass her air if you held her up on your shoulder, only if she was lying on my knees. Nobody knew that but me and nobody had her milk but me” (19).

In Beloved, milk symbolizes a mother’s love, yet in Song of Solomon, it represents a mother’s impure desires. In both cases, the mother’s milk provides nourishment to the children, but the intentions are completely different. I find that Morrison’s ability to use different connotations of motifs interchangeably across books is the most sophisticated form of symbolism there is. Is Nabokovian reading really the best way of reading if it prevents people from making connections like this, or did making this connection somehow negatively impact my reading of Beloved?

Narrative of the Life of Sethe

In the novel Beloved, Sethe and Paul D recount their journey through slavery and the reprocussions of freedom. Although author Toni Morrison didn’t have first hand experience, her descriptions and experiences in slavery accurately portray a variety of true stories. In particular, Morrison’s stories of Paul D and Sethe reflect a lot of the key themes and experiences in Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

To start, both Sethe and Paul D don’t have many familial connections and rely on the other slaves at their plantation for a sense of comradery. Frederick Douglass was also separated from his family at a young age and found it hard to build relationships due to him fearing their separation. As seen in Beloved, Sethe has a similar anxiety around trusting that Paul D will stay with her. After Sethe had lost her mother, Halle, and multiple kids out her life, she struggled with relying on people.

Another of many similarities between the two narrations is the restrictiveness of humanity under slavery. Paul D’s bit in his mouth reflected a lot of the physical barriers causing Frederick Douglass to feel inhumane. Frederick Douglass recounts the songs the slaves would sing as they were allowed to run errands off of the plantation. The songs retained their freedom of speech again as they could express their cries of sadness, hope, and any other suppressed emotions. The bit in Paul D’s mouth is restricting his freedom of expression and compromising his humanity like the slaves in Frederick Douglass’ autobiography. 

The People and Groups Represented by Beloved

Beloved is so much more than just the spirit of Sethe’s dead child. She represents the spirits of all the slaves who died on their forced voyage to America. Beloved possesses memories that are unique to the trauma that slaves went through during their time on the Middle Passage. Beloved shares this memory with Sethe’s mother and therefore raises questions about Beloved also representing Sethe’s mom.

Because of Beloved’s unique supernatural characteristic and portrayal of so many forgotten slaves, she is individually underdeveloped in the story. Sethe’s actions and experiences shape Beloved and she proves to a beneficial part of Sethe’s life, until she isn’t. She assists Sethe by asking her to reveal stories of her past but later turns too needy. Her role as more of a force than a person helps this idea become clearer. While Beloved represents Sethe’s unnamed child, she is also a character for the masses that died during America’s most shameful period.

Beloved and Song of Solomon

Toni Morrison is hands down an amazing author and a person who shaped how stories should be told. Within her many novels, Morrison has wrote stories that highlighted themes of discrimination, family, beauty, and included twists of the supernatural. Within her renown novel Beloved, there is beauty in the way she presents the supernatural and things that cannot be explained. As Beloved progresses, there is a ghost that gives a deeper meaning to slavery and how a person relives trauma. Similar to Beloved, she has another novel that depicts these similar attributes.

From reading Song of Solomon in last years English class and reading Beloved this year I was surprised to find a connection in the peculiar parts of the novels. Obviously there will be connections because Morrison incorporates similar themes and is the author of both books. But besides those factors, if one takes a look into the deeper supernatural aspects of each book, the connections are clear. Within Song of Solomon, there is reference to folktale of slaves flying back to Africa. Within this supernatural aspect, this also connects to the ghost in beloved because both embody issues that arise from slavery.

Overall, Toni Morrison delivers stories that captivate how one perceives slavery and truly gives deeper meaning. Although her stories range in character, the deepest meanings are quite clear.

Trauma & Emotion

Throughout elementary and middle school, I was only told about the life of slaves who died as a slave, and the work that Harriet Tubman did with the Underground Railroad. That’s it. The worst part is, I didn’t even think about the fact that there are so many other sides and points of view of slavery besides those two. Beloved shed light on an embarrassingly new area for me, telling the story of a slave who escaped and began her life outside the confinement of slavery.

Even though Sethe in Beloved did end up escaping and gave birth to her child, her story falls nothing short of traumatic. Toni Morrison uses an array of symbols and motifs to reflect the past in the current, real life of Sethe. I believe that both the ghost and reincarnated (?) form of Beloved is the biggest symbol of all, as she is a real figure that triggers memories and scenes from Sethe’s past. I also believe that one of the biggest takeaways Toni Morrison would want her readers to gain is the true effect and aftermath of living life after being a slave, a life that most people nowadays would ever even be able to imagine. She shows the differing emotional impact this traumatic life had through many characters, but especially highlights the difference between Paul D and Sethe, as they shared a similar experience. Paul D compresses his feelings and they eat away at him. He feels that his role is to be strong and someone to lean on, which includes sacrificing his own needs in the process. Sethe has strong emotions and shows many of her flashback memories to the reader, she is clearly facing serious emotional damage which will stay with her for the rest of her life.

The Supernatural in Beloved and Exit West

When first reading Exit West, I assumed it was a futuristic form of historical fiction, a realistic story about two people during a time of war.  But when they first walked through the door, I thought had misunderstood or the story skipped forward in time. I thought it to be a mistake by Hamid to introduce such a syfy like portal in this very probable world, that he was confusing the reader more than he should.

In Beloved, I was even more sure that I was reading historical fiction.  A book about life after slavery? For sure. But then Paul D scared a ghost out of the house, Sethe was choked my mysterious fingers, and Beloved appeared and disappeared.

Although initially strange, I think that these supernatural aspects were necessary.  In Exit West, the magical doors transcend all barriers and create an accelerated migration, that gives Hamid an opportunity provide commentary about these topics.  In Beloved, the ghost forces Sethe to relive trauma that slavery has brought upon her, and gives Morrison a chance to give the reader a deeper understanding about living after slavery.  In both books, they are very central elements, and introduce ways to bring out ideas that wouldn’t have been articulated in a nonfiction book.

Can these books, especially Beloved, still be considered historical fiction?

“I Dreamed a Dream” is very similar to Beloved

I think the song, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables is an embodiment of Sethe’s mentality throughout the entire book. In, Beloved, Sethe spends the entire novel constantly reliving the past, the good and the bad. This song is all about how the main character dreams of a better life but is woken up by her reality. She sings, “I dreamed, that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving”. Sethe has specific flashbacks to the point in her life when she was with Halle. She goes back to the time when her husband was still there with her. Just like the song, she is reverting to the good parts of her past because it is easier than dealing with the traumatic parts.

Similar to the first piece of lyrics, Sethe, is remembering the good times. The character, Fantine, says, “There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted”. This can easily be compared to Sethe and Halle’s wedding or Baby Suggs’ preaching. In both of these situations there was some sense of joy, even if it was surrounded by a lifetime of slavery.

But, at some point, a lifetime of trauma can catch up to you. Like in the bridge of the song. It says, “But the tigers come at night. With their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hope apart. As they turn your dream to shame”. This is almost an exact example of Sethe’s sudden flashback of being assaulted by the white men. At the end of the song she sings, “Now life has killed the dream, I dreamed”, which shows how remembering the trauma has ruined her past.

Inspiration behind Beloved

In the interview Tony Morrison gave shortly after releasing Beloved to shelves, she talked about the story of Margaret Garner, the woman who inspired her to write about slavery and more broadly what the mother-child relationship and dynamic is like for those who are enslaved or have experienced slavery. The story of Margaret garner is horrific but reflects not only the brutality of slavery but the intensity of a mother’s love for her child. Margaret Garner had almost escaped slavery with her family, but when stopped by US Marshalls, Garner killed her daughter as she would rather take her life than see it taken back by the slave owners. The act of taking her own daughter’s life would in no way be easy for her, but she is willing to do it to prevent her daughter from being enslaved. It also shows from the firsthand perspective of someone who had been enslaved for likely their entire life, that death seemed better than life as a slave.

This connects to Beloved, however Sethe did not have control of her daughter’s fate. This may have caused more pain in the longrun, as Sethe handed over her child, and is faced for the rest of her life with thoughts that if she had kept her daughter with her for those few days that she may still be alive. However, if Sethe had to do something like Margaret Garner did, and take the life of her daughter in a brutal way, and then lived the rest of her life safe from slavery, she would feel horrible and would be haunted ever worse by the Ghost of her daughter. The impact of Beloved’s death is shown throughout the novel, in one instance, Sethe refuses to move out of her home, even though it is causing them social and emotional problems. As she does not feel comfortable moving because the last time she did so, she lost her daughter, and likely because even though her daughter’s presence is not always positive, it is all she has left.