The Importance of Storytelling

Throughout her novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison portrays the importance of storytelling. It is essential to the novel as it serves as a way to communicate memories among the characters. One of the ways in which memories live on is through storytelling. 

As Sethe tells Denver about her family and her remarkable birth, Denver is able to develop a sense of personal history and heritage. Storytelling allows memories to stay alive especially among characters such as Sethe, Baby Suggs, Paul D, and Denver. These personal memories create a shared tradition about the past and provide slaves the ability to tell their own story. This ultimately allows slaves to define themselves rather than constantly being defined by slave-owners. 

Although storytelling brings people together, it can also bring back horrific memories. For Sethe and Paul D, their memories as slaves continue to haunt them, which can prevent them from moving on. At the end of the novel, Morrison repeats, “It was not a story to pass on” (324). This suggests that after Beloved’s disappearance, people had to forget about her in order to live on with their lives. Morrison’s story of Beloved conveys that there is value in learning about this painful story of the past because it is important to remember the history of slavery.

The Love Formula

The film Trust written and directed by Hal Hartley portrays the romance between two troubled misfits who feel disowned by their parents. 

Maria, who is pregnant and a high school dropout, supposedly kills her father because of disgust and disappointment. But in reality, he died of heart failure. Her mother immediately disowns her, forcing her to move out of the house. While Maria wanders town looking for a place to stay, she comes across Mathew, an educated and moody electronics repairman. 

They develop a strong connection to each other in which they are accepting and understanding of one another. They understand the hardships one another faces as they continue to live with their insulting parents.

Throughout the film, Maria and Mathew build a sense of mutual admiration and trust. When Mathew asks her to marry him, Maria constructs a formula: respect + admiration + trust = love

I believe that this formula represents their relationship because they are essential factors in what makes them happy. In addition, I think that Maria and Mathew’s relationship solves the problems they face because it allows them to comfort each other. Maria helps Mathew stay sane as he struggles to keep the same job for a long period of time. Mathew cares for Maria by making her feel loved. He helped her become more confident in wearing her glasses, which ultimately allowed Maria to accept herself. Both Maria’s mother and Mathew’s father are emotionally abusive, and Mathew’s father is physically abusive too. By getting married, they have the opportunity to start a new life without any constraints such as their parents.

Meursault’s Realization on Life

Throughout his novel, The Stranger, Albert Camus portrays the idea of existentialism. Camus exposes the true self and cold nature of human beings in order to show Meursault’s realization of the meaningless of life.

Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes the freedom to choose and make decisions without trying to achieve someone else’s standards. Existentialists acknowledge the dangers and outcomes of their decisions and take responsibility if future outcomes.

The Stranger provides several examples of analyzing and revealing the true self and cold nature of human beings. When Meursault shoots the Arab and one of the Arabs draws his blade and holds it up to Meursault, Meursault is not annoyed by the Arab’s undermining activity, he was disturbed by the extreme heat and light from the sun that reflected at him. Meursault describes his feeling of discomfort from the sunlight when he says, “The scorching blade slashed at my eyelashes and stabbed at my stinging eyes” (Camus 59). Meursault was not afraid of being attacked by the Arab, he felt uncomfortable in that situation. As a result, Meursault shot him even though he did it due to his feeling of annoyance. Later, Meursault gets arrested, but he does not realize the severity of his actions. Meursault shows this when he says, “Then he wanted to know if I had hired an attorney. I admitted I hadn’t and inquired whether it was really necessary to have one” (Camus 63). Meursault is ready to move on and accept his punishment. His actions expose how existentialists take actions into their own hands, dealing with the consequences later. 

Death is a common idea among existentialists, which is shown when Mersault expresses his actual affections for Maman’s death, those of distant and dislike. The investigators were aware that Meursault had shown insensitivity the day of Maman’s funeral. He explains his feelings towards Maman by saying, “I probably did love Maman, but that didn’t mean anything. At one time or another all normal people have wished their loved ones were dead” (Camus 65). Meursault displays his anger towards his Maman when he sent her to a home, losing their connection. This reveals that people often get too involved in their lives, wanting them to distance themselves even more. Meursault demonstrates this characteristic during Maman’s funeral service where he did not show any sympathy and when he decided to not visit her anymore at the home.

“Bloodchild” Vs. Society

Indeed, “Bloodchild” is not about slavery. It is about how the Tlic and Terrans formed an interdependent relationship in which they try to leave peacefully among each other.  As the Tlic offer protection, the Terrans offer one male from each family to serve as a host to Tlic eggs. 

The Tlic are viewed as evil because they are non-human creatures. They are parasitic that need host animals for their eggs. The Tlic reproduce by laying their fertile eggs in other living organisms where the larvae feed off of the host’s blood. When the larvae hatch, they release a poison into the host’s body where they start eating their egg cases while continuing to consume the host. 

A major part of this short story is the influence of culture and society’s expectations. Modern society understands slavery as a treacherous experience, sympathizing to the recurrence of oppression. Butler discusses the approaches by which humans simultaneously protect their survival while also maintaining their survival. The Terrans arrived at a desperate time, so the Tlic used that opportunity to use them as host organisms. There is a symbiotic codependency between the Tlic and the Terrans. The Tlic teach Terrans about the process of reproduction. From birth, Terrans are taught and adjusted to the societal order. In the story, Gan and T’Gatoi develop a relationship that is both loving and manipulative. 

Lastly, Butler creates an unusual binary switch in which the men become pregnant. Our modern day society has a fixed view on gender binary. Usually, males have the majority of the power and females are left with little to nothing. Butler criticizes the traditional power dynamic of the gender binary by establishing a world where the power dynamic between men and women are reversed.