An Act of Love

When it is revealed that Sethe killed her own child in order to keep all of her children from entering slavery, the reader has mixed emotions on how to feel. After all, she did murder her own baby, how could a person do that. But Sethe’s act, as horrid and appalling as it was, was one out of love. She loved her children so much, she could not bare to see them in the grasp of slavery in their lifetime.

Under the institution of slavery, Sethe as a mother decides to express her love for her children by in her own way, protecting them from the many destructive aspects that come from slavery. If we look through Sethe’s eyes and into her situation, would we do the same? Because of her act, Denver and her 2 brothers grew up free. Was the price of one child worth the three lives it saved?

By making us consider this, Morrison is finding ways to make the reader really place themselves in Beloved and the necessities that were felt back then. As an African American woman in 2019, I could not fathom having to make a choice like Sethe. Although her choice was one that will forever haunt her dreams, Sethe’s bravery to even consider something like that in order to save her children is what I admire.

3 thoughts on “An Act of Love

  1. Geneva D

    I was very surprised when Sethe killed her child. I could not imagine what it must have been like to need to make that choice that would help but also hurt your children. When we took the questionnaire at the beginning of the unit I answered that I didn’t think a murder of an innocent person could be justified, but now I think it can be justified.

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  2. Jane V

    Toni Morrison’s choice to write this kind of story as the basis of her novel is so intelligent because of the extreme mixed emotions we feel for Sethe. I was both proud of Sethe’s bravery, and angry at her for having done the horrific thing. But, it translates Sethe’s emotions far better than any other story about slavery because it is such a personal pain to describe.

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  3. Anthony L

    Out living your own children, I think, is the hardest thing for a parent. But in Sethe’s case, while it may be hard for her, she knew what she was doing was only out of pure love for her children.

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