Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A "Beloved" Price

Slavery; the huge, ugly mole on the face of American pride. America the free, more like "America the free except for those slaves. We don't count them as people." The horrible past of America that is slavery, is incredibly unforgettable. Though it's been over one hundred years since there was evidence of actual slavery in America, how can one forget the inhumanity and lack of compassion slavery harbored? The incredible irony that existed in our constitution before 1865, is almost humorous. "We the people [white men] of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union [for white men], establish justice [for white men], insure domestic tranquility [for white men], provide for the common defense [of white men], promote the general welfare [by general we mean just for white men], and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves [the white men] and our posterity [white posterity of course], do ordain and establish this constitution of the United States of America [but for just the white men]. Though many of the founding fathers recognized this extreme hypocrisy in the new government, very little attempted to do anything about it. This huge, ugly, hypocritical mole that sprung onto the face of American pride could have been removed before it got any worse.

However, the group that were most effected by this terrible past were the slaves posterity. This horrible era in history was their past, the slaves were their ancestors. It is hard to hide from and hard to ignore. Toni Morrison reflects this idea in her novel Beloved.  The character Beloved is a perfect representation of slavery. She is constant reminder to Sethe of the acts she did because of slavery. She also brings up Paul D's memories of slavery he hoped to never have to deal with.

Through her characters, Morrison is able to describe the three generations that came out of the slave era, and how they have helped create a better tomorrow for the African Americans today. She describes "the past" through Baby Suggs, "the present" through Sethe, and the future through "Denver," and through these three characters she is able to juxtapose the three mindsets that sprung from the slavery reconstruction era, and call attention to the significance of this era. Baby Suggs is the past and therefore the hope that is able to come from it. Her influence on the people in the town helps regain their sense of individuality and though even for a short time, reminds them of who they are and the happiness they can feel. However, besides that one scene in the forest, Baby Suggs is mostly in bed almost hiding from Beloved, the ghost of slavery. Yet she is still able to give Denver, "the future," the help and motivation to overcome the idea of slavery. Sethe is consistently trapped in the past. She can never let the fact that she killed her daughter on behalf of slavery go. She represents the present. Though there was a chance for her to create a new life away from her terrible past, she still could not let it go. She embraces Beloved, the ghost of slavery, and continues to love her even though she causes her so much harm. The significance of the attachment Sethe has with Beloved is representative of the fact that Sethe just couldn't forget. She couldn't let her past go in order to create a future. However, Denver is able to create a future for everyone. She never had to live within the confines of slavery. Even though she embraces Beloved at first, she is able to recognize the inherent danger Beloved brings and is able to seek help for her and her family. She is the only one that fled and the only one that was able to. She sought help from the community and they all came together to exorcise the inner demon that lived in all of them; slavery. With the help of Denver, the community was able to fill the missing "3" that "124" it was missing. Morrison uses the past, present, and the future in order to truly create hope and brought a new life into the slavery reconstruction era.

Though everyone was free from the inherent act of slavery, their mindsets were still stuck  in their horrible past. The only thing that saves the women in 124 and the whole community in fact, was the willingness to let go of what they knew for so long what lives were filled with for over two hundred years. To forget the pain and the suffering and let it go, all in order to create a new tomorrow "for [themselves] and their posterity." The huge, ugly mole that is slavery on the face of American pride, is still there yet with a collective look to tomorrow and recognition that mole can be dealt with and used as motivation to try and be better.

No comments:

Post a Comment