Morrison forms the past in the shape of Beloved, a figure bloated and pregnant with history and "rememories" Beloved enters Sethe's world to haunt her, to propel her, to force her to ressurect those memories she stores in the recesses of her heart and mind. Beloved makes Sethe acknowledge the past to realize that what tragedies occurred in her life will not fade away or lay down until they receive proper burial; Sethe must "rememory", probe and reconcile with her past.
Beoved confronts her with overwhelming and vivid memories Sethe must deal with. Sethe becomes consumed by them, for Beloved is swallowing her whole. As Beloved grows, Sethe slowly dies. Until Beloved is harnessed, Sethe will dwindle under her power. Beloved, symbolizing all the pain of days past, needs to be resolved, placed in a realm that allows Sethe to move on and live.
Her past cannot go on haunting her forever. A great deal of Beloved involves possession and the role of memory. Morrison writes on page that "Ella didn't like the idea of past errors taking possession of the present. If the human brain can purge itself of past experiences, then this question would be resolved. It is obvious that certain experiences are so insignificant that they remain isolated and forgotten.
Victims of slavery and of the Holocost were and, in some cases, are possessed by the past as Sethe so clearly is. This passage clearly illuminates upon the recurring theme of visual imagery bringing the pain of past, buried experiences to ones current conscioussness, and perhaps providing a better understanding of those experiences or allowing a coming to grips with the horrors of the past.
A major portion of the novel deals with her, as well as characters such as Paul D and even Baby Suggs, deals with the characters coming to grips with these experiences, accepting and recognizing them in their consciousness, and moving forward.
A number of the Nagasaki accounts deal with the same idea of visual imagery bringing the "realness" of the past tragedy to light and how the survivors have dealt with it and moved forward in their lives. Of course, Katherine was not alive at the time of this event, but yet, she still feels the effects of it.
This is a manifestation of what is being said when Sethe says: For the historical place, the event will always be an element of history. I grew up in the U. One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Park. I had read up on the atomic bomb and its effects on the people of Hiroshima before I went.
The most touching and memorable exhibit was the drawings made by the Hiroshima victims, depicting the events after the bombing. Most were simplistic, but all were very horrifying to me. Having visited other museums, such as the Holocaust Museum in D.
What struck me as particularly sad about the Peace Park was the indifference of some of the visitors. It concerned me that children could not understand the suffering that had occurred, and the very possibility of such an event occurring again. In conclusion, the point that Sethe is making in the passage is that memories, which become rememories, will never go away. She says, that "nothing ever dies", because the historical places remain,as well as the visual pictures that are related to others.
The bitter sweetness of memories is that althoughthey help to guard against the physical events happening again, they happen again for both the person with the memory, and the person who has the rememory. As Denver tells of her fear of the memories and rememories, she is also speaking of her need and desire to know what those memories truely do hold. She reveals her need for Sethe to speak the unspeakable horror of her past when Denver says, "I don't know what it is, I don't know who it is, but maybe there is something else terrible enough to make her do it again.
I need to know what that thing might be, but I don't want to. Sethe has to understand that the effects of her past are not limited to her life, but also define much of who Denver is. Denver therefore feels a strong need to understand this past. It is not enough for her to know the objective facts of the past, she has got to go beyond that to understanding. Jagerman describes her Holocaust experiences with amazingly accurate detail. However, despite her excellent memory of the events, she does not now and did not then understand the reasons for the Holocaust.
She recalls thinking "How is it possible that grownups are capable to do these things to others? Where is Justice and why do we deserve this? But, when this dialogue does occur it cannot be a simple recounting. It has to be aimed at understanding. One of the most interesting things about Denver is that she is much like the reader. She does not know the whole truth, as Sethe does, and just as the reader discovers more about the past as time goes on, so does Denver.
It is through her eyes that one sees how the past is told, how those who did not live it find out what happened, and how both knowledge and ignorance influence the present. Part of the past is known to Denver, and that knowledge scares her into doing certain things. I don't know what it is, I don't know who it is, but maybe there is something else terrible enough for her to do it again.
Over the years Denver has heard bits of the truth, but it was so horrific, that no one ever sat down and told her the whole story. This is a common theme in much of the holocaust literature.
Events so terrible that those who experienced them may talk amongst themselves, but the stories are past on only in bits and pieces to younger generations. In the following piece Ann Levy, who's interview is on the Louisiana Holocaust Survivors Website, describes both her experience of hearing stories from her parents and also in telling the stories to her children.
AL laugh For a long time, I think we found that with our parents, the older survivors, they had really hard time talking about it even to their children so we lived for the last thirty years of so, we lived really in silence, you know, and whatever we may overheard the adults speaking among themselves is what the kids would pick up. You want me to hold it? But, ah, so you know they never discussed it with the children. So it was just bits and pieces that the kids would pick up, as youngsters at home but with myself there was a lot that I remembered, I didn't have to be told because I was old enough to remember so and yet it wasn't something that we discussed or we talked about or once and a while.
And I guess I did the same thing with my children, really didn't go into detail, I didn't sit them down and say let me tell you a story of you know how it was.
It was I guess by drips and draps. In this passage, Morrison touches upon the concepts of memory and remomroy relating them to the repression so ften found in victims of horrible events and tragedy. In the moments before Sethe touches Paul D's knee, he relates some of the most painful memories he has of Sweet Home to her. Unable to take in all that she is hearing, Sethe stops his narration with the slow methodical movements that characterize her methodical repression of the painful past.
Both Sethe and Paul D work to keep the past tucked away inside the "tabacco tin" inside them where the personal pain of the past resides. They both believe in the concept of "remomory" and fear that confronting the past "might push them both to a place they couldn't get back from.
Morrison concludes the chapter from Sethe's perspective: Nothing better than that to start that day's serious work of beating back the past. However, this passage marks the end of the first significant step away from repression of memory.
It marks the first discussion of the past that might lead to healing by spreading the pain and sharing the story with others who lived through the event, making it less dangerous and more relevant to the entire community. The relationship between storytelling and desire is an important theme in Beloved. Storytelling serves an important function as a way to communicate communal memory. As such, it becomes a communal experience, in which the role of the listener is as significant as that of the teller.
Our passage clearly illustrates this, as Sethe uses her authority as a listener to block the telling of Paul D's story. As Paul D thinks to himself after Sethe places her hand on his knee to silence him, "Just as well. Saying more might push them both to a place they couldn't get back from.
When memory is the property of the whole community, the community must consent to the act of remembering. The desire to remember can only come when both the teller of and the listener to the past feel prepared to face it. Sethe chooses to continue, "beating back the past," p. The story of Ann Levy's family silence shows that this phenomenon is not limited to victims of slavery, but is common to all communities that suffer unspeakable horrors.
The passage which begins on the bottom of p. Paul D has quite simply taken the terrible experience of the bit and locked in "that tobacco tin buried in his chest. In order to survive it, he has had to harden himself- to the memory, and to life in general.
Paul has cut himself off from the pain of emotion, from the risk of hope, and as a result, "no red heart bright as Mister's comb" beats in him. However, in the presence of Sethe, who shared much of Paul's experience, he is able to relase some of his repressed feelings and memories.
Of course, this process of remembering is slow and fraught with psychological peril. If Paul and Sethe take it too fast, if the floodgates of the past are unchecked and everything rushes out in a uncontrollable wave, a mental breakdown could be the result. They could very well end up in "a place they couldn't get back from. In the same way the novel takes a cautious and indirect approach to remembering the central atrocity of Beloved's murder, and the various atrocites inflicted upon the Sweet Home group, so too do Sethe and Paul approach thier own memories.
Even the most tightly rusted tobacco tin and the largest mass of unworked dough can't beat back the past forever. One theme from the memory section sources addresses the notion of the "insurmountable guilt" that holocaust survivors experience.
It seems there are two types of guilt in "Beloved. These different reactions to injustice cause guilt but this guilt is manifested in different ways. Sethe's murder of her child as a reaction to the injustice of the "men without skin" caused her severe pain that was tangibly confronted by the manifestation of her daughter in Beloved. In contrast, Stamp Paid felt guilt because he did not confront the injustice of the white owner's relations with his wife.
The two men were able to laugh about Sethe's experiences partly because they did not understand the immense suffering of Sethe due to her confrontation of injustice. The passage on page also conveys the message that sometimes when something is so horrible, the human mind can use humor as a way of dealing with pain. Paul D and Stamp Paid made a joke out of Sethe's attempt at murdering the white man who came to the house.
Part of the passage says, "its seriousness and its embarrassment made them shake with laughter. When reading through testimonies of witnesses of the Holocaust, I came across a testimony of a woman who was sent to Auschwitz during World War II with her family. She said that when they arrived at the camp all the women were immediately shaven all over their bodies. She said that when all the hair was removed they all looked like monkeys. In addition, while some were crying after they had been completely shaven, others could only laugh hysterically.
I felt that this passage supports the passage on page as once again sometimes humor or laughter is used to deal with pain that one feels when it is so great. While it almost seems insane for people to laugh at traumatic or horrifying experiences, maybe laughter is what prevents people from really going crazy.
While they cannot understand what motivates her actions, they have a connection to her. One ground for that is that racist attitudes in the USA alter extremely slowly, and another is that the author is very delicate in the description of her ideas. Morrison describes each incident with such solid expressiveness that any booklover easily takes it as a truth. She is very accurate in the assertions — similarly about the identity of the ghost as about the faults of the whites.
No part of the tale is presented as assumption. With a story, the booklover is asked to delay distrust completely and at once. The extra bonus of the story form, for Tony Morrison, is that she is also tapping into an extremely imperative black folklore that enriches her style as well as her book Smiley, It is not a linear story, told from the beginning to the very end. This is a tale combining different levels of the past, from the slavery to community and to the present.
The past sometimes is told in flashbacks or in stories of the main characters. The novel is basically written in fragments for the reader to place all the pieces together. The combination of past with present strengthens the concept that the past is living in the present.
In forcing the booklover to put back all pieces, Morrison forces us to consider each of them. Supernatural phenomena are combined with a realistic framework. Furthermore, the protagonists in the book do not hesitate to accept supernatural events as true. For them, poltergeists and hallucinations are methods of understanding the importance of the globe around them. The structure of the tale is enriched with an always changing opinion.
Every character, even the dead people tell fragments of the story. At one point, Paul D and Sethe switch over flashbacks that eventually make the whole. The variety of the opinions evolves a tapestry of human beings joined by past or present. Also, the usage of correlativism needs to be noted. The usage of Biblical allusions and blurred symbolism makes the climate filled with strength and drama. Made in the Reconstruction era in , the novel concentrates on the notions of memory and history.
For the ex-slaves in the narrative, the past is a burden that they dreadfully and deliberately try to forget. But for Sethe, the main character of the story, memories of slavery are unavoidable.
They carry on haunting her in the spirit of her departed child. Eighteen years ago, Sethe had to kill her daughter in order to save her from slavery. It should be mentioned that Tony Morrison borrowed these events from the actual story of life of Margaret Garner, who was a slave in Kentucky. She escaped, but decided to kill her child when slave catchers found them. The author eliminates the border between fiction and history. From the life of one family, the author makes a strong commentary on the historical and psychological heritage of slavery.
Morrison recovers a story that had been lost due to the negative effects of forced silences. Morrison writes the story with the voices of populace who have been left without the power of language. Denver reveals to Beloved that she knows Beloved was the spirit of Now she wants to know why she came back alive. Beloved tells Denver that she really came back for Sethe. Beloved speaks to Denver about the place from where she came. Beloved explains the place as hot, very small, nothing to breath, and no room to move.
Her description symbolizes both a womb and a slave ship. One night while sitting by the fire Beloved begins humming a song. Sethe realizes that the song she is humming is a song that she had made up and used to sing to her children. Sethe then realizes whom Beloved really is, her third child come to life. She then decides not to worry anymore about the outside world, yet to focus towards her family.
Sethe tries to justify to Beloved that the murder was an act of love. She continuously assures Beloved that she will be a good mother. Sethe is no longer troubled with Paul D leaving. Sethe did everything and gave everything to Beloved, Beloved was never satisfied. Denver starts to fear for their lives because food has been starting to become scarce, so for the first time in eighteen years she leaves the house to go look for food.
Beloved literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Beloved.
Analysis of Beloved, by Tony Morrison - Beloved is a novel written by Tony Morrison and is based on the American Civil War. The plot of the novel is based on .
Free Essay: Analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning book Beloved, is a historical novel that serves as a memorial for. Essays and criticism on Toni Morrison's Beloved - Critical Essays.
An essay about Toni Morrison's novel Beloved that I wrote for Ms. Mayer's AP English Literature class in February by paulk in Types > School Work > Essays & Theses, Essay, and novel. Beloved by Toni Morrison Research Papers examine the character of Sethe and the impact of slavery along with many myths deconstructed in the novel.