Essay about Toni Morrison's Beloved | Writing Forums
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Essay about Toni Morrison's Beloved (1 Viewer)

Question: Did Sethe make the right moral decision when she killed her baby so the school teacher would not take them back into slavery? A life, even a slave's life, is sacred and should not be thrown away. When Sethe took that blade and cut open her crawling already? baby's throat she was taking something that was not hers to take. The life belonged to that child and Sethe had no right to steal it from her. Life is precious and holy even when it is filled with misery.
Slavery is the lowest point of human existence. It is harsh and degrading but it is still a life. Sethe was defiled and violated as a slave, especially under the cruel reign of the Schoolteacher. Her mild was stolen and her back was permanently scarred from the ruthless beatings of her slave owners. It is true that Mr. Gardener and his wife were relatively kind to their slaves but their social position could not be ignored. The life of a slave does not belong to that slave but it is better than death. A life of misery is always better than no life at all.
What Sethe did was also unnatural and against her deepest instincts. Mothers are not meant to kill their own children, even if they consider it for the child's own good. Killing Beloved caused Sethe to life a worse life than the one she would have had if she had stayed in slavery. It is true that she was now free from slavery and belonged wholly to herself, but she was now a captive to her guilt and remorse, which can be more binding than physical chains.
It is because of Sethe’s guilt that Beloved returns. Beloved is the physical representation of all that Sethe hated and feared. It is ironic that Sethe should love her. Beloved represented Sethe's baby girl who Sethe killed out of love. She had all the same characteristics of the baby and had knowledge that only a child of Sethe's would know. Beloved-the-women loved sweet things, something that could be drawn back to Sethe giving her baby a rag soaked in sugar while the baby was carried to freedom and Baby Suggs's house. Beloved asked Sethe about “her diamonds”, which referred to the crystal earrings that Sethe would let the baby play with as a baby, and hummed a tune that Sethe made up and sung only to her children. Beloved also represented slavery. In the chapter where we see from Beloved’s point of view she talks about her memories of being on a slave ship. She remembers “the little hill of dead people a hot thing the men without skin push then through with poles the woman is there with the face I want that face that is mine they fall into the sea which is the color of the bread…” (Pg. 222) She calls the dead man on her face “my dead man”. She is apart of these people. She is there with them during their journey. It is also her journey and her experience. Although Beloved, the baby, is never forced to be a slave she partakes in their history. Although Sethe could not have known that killing her daughter would have incorporated the child deeper into slavery and its history than if the child had been a slave herself it is still the fault of Sethe that the baby was killed.
It was wrong of Sethe of kill her child. As Paul D put it, her love was “too thick”. Because of her actions Sethe not only lost her child but and also a part of the community that surrounded her. Her children feared her and her two sons ran away. It is never right to kill a child, especially out of love. It is best for a mother to give a son or daughter the chance to live instead of saving them from a life of pain.