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Relationships in Beloved by Toni Morrison Paper

The novel Beloved is based on a true story of an Afro-American Slave who murders her daughter in order to spare her a life in slavery. In this response paper I will discuss the morality and justifying of such an act, which the mother believed to be an act of “motherly love and protection.” Further I will point out how Beloved, as the incarnation of the dead daughter, affects each member of this family.

First of all, Beloved as a novel, definitely contains supernatural elements. Beloved as the person, is to be seen as a “personal ghost” of Sethe who never manages to find closure and peace after murdering her own child. Actually, it is more than remarkable, that she indeed tried to kill all her four children and luckily succeeded only with one. The fact, that this act never gave her peace, makes her human but also fragile and vulnerable. Beloved represents her past, both the capture in slavery and her desperate act of killing her children. While Beloved seems to be needy, parasitic and malevolent, it is probably God?s attempt to make Sethe and the others deal with their past. Sethe?s past is one of sexual, emotional and physical abuse. Such a trauma does not disappear but continues to live on with you and haunt you until you don’t find the power to deal with it and close with it. As a result, Sethe tries to avoid everything what could remind her of her past. Further Sethe is captured in a dangerous devotion to her children, which resulted from the murder of her elder daughter and the isolation of her younger daughter. Thus Sethe lives in a permanent guilt towards her children and assumes sacrifying her life and satisfying every need of Beloved would release her of her guilt. Denver instead, her younger daughter, lives with a fear of the outside world and spends hours alone at home. Since she has a very close relationship to her mother, she feels threatened when her mother pays more attention to Paul D or Beloved.

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