Sethe Justification For Killing Her Child
The book is about the tale of Sethe and Denver her daughter after they escaped from slavery. Their residence, 124 Bluestone Road, Cincinnati, has been troubled by a spirit, whom they consider to be the Sethe’s daughter’s ghost. Because of this haunting, of which over and over again involves items being thrown about the room, Denver, Sethe’s youngest daughter, is shy, not friendly, and she is housebound, also her sons, Buglar and Howard have escaped from home by age thirteen. Baby Suggs, the mother to Sethe’s spouse, Halle, passes away in her bed afterward. Sethe is the main character in the story.
Seth explains the reason for killing his daughter to Paul D. After she escaped from Sweet Home land, she reached her waiting children at the home of her mother in law. Her master found her and tried to get her back together with the children. She then grabbed her children, hurried into the tool shed, and wanted to murder them all. She only succeeded in killing only her eldest daughter use of a saw, which she ran on her neck.
A woman called Beloved, assumed to be her daughter, comes back during later years to haunt Sethe’s dwelling at 124 Bluestone Road, at Cincinnati. Sethe says that she was “trying to put my babies where they would be safe” (Morrison, 32). From this statement that suggests her reasoning, we are able to know that Sethe actually did not kill her daughter out of hatred, but it was out of love. Sethe was a fugitive slave escaping from abusive white people. If we were to rethink her perspective, instead of judging her, we tend to seriously re-evaluate the meaning of maternal love and who can get to describe the restrictions of maternal love. There was no way that she was going to allow her children to go through what she had experienced at Sweet Home. This is how she put it when explaining to Paul D, “It ain’t my job to know what’s worse. It’s my job to know what is and to keep them away from what I know is terrible. I did that” (Morrison, 18.194).
Toni Morrison also seems to side with her by saying that this was totally the right thing to do, but Sethe did not have the right to do it. He says that he thinks he had seen whatever she had already seen, and known that was in stock up, and he felt that there was a next world or even he felt that it was not there. He also thinks would have done a similar thing. But it is also a thing one has no right to do.”
Maternal love to Sethe is not something with ethical limits or something which one can philosophize about (especially for a man). It is instant, raw, and urgent. It is action. And it definitely not for lightweights. A man cannot understand maternal love, according to Sethe. When Paul D claims that Sethe’s love is “too thick”, she responds, “Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all” (Morrison, 18.194). Essentially, she means that Paul D is not a man or cannot be a woman sufficiently to do the things mothers can do because of love. Sethe’s love does not all concern the warm fuzzies.
Proper mothering in Beloved was not permissible throughout and even from time to time after slavery for African /American women. Sethe, for one, is not a character who is ready to lose her possibility of mothering her own children, hell or high-water. There is also no way she is going to allow her children to be genuinely taken away from her and be taken into slavery. No way is Sethe going to be like her mother, who is totally gone and dead. It is not easy being a mother. This also happens to be one of the reasons why Sethe behaves the way she behaves. Her relationship between her and her mother was nonexistent. She was nursed by another slave when she was a baby and from this had a mother and daughter connection that is ion of how beyond dysfunctional. That is why Sethe is preoccupied by nursing her own children. She says “Nan had to nurse white babies and me too because Ma’am was in the rice. The little white babies got it first and I got what was left. Or none. There was no nursing milk to call my own” (Morrison, 20.200).
The question of how can Sethe be a good, caring loving, mother to a daughter including Denver, if she never had the knowledge of having had a mother or even being a daughter. She never consciously questions herself that way, but the question is hovering over the whole novel. Even if Sethe does not experience the entire mother and daughter thing, she all the same becomes very much like her own mother than she certainly means to. Her own mother only reserved one child, who is Sethe, just because her father was a man who was black and whom her mother chose.
She threw away all the others because their fathers were either white men are men who raped her. (Morrison, Chapter 6). The two may have killed for different reasons, but they end up as baby murderers. That makes us understand Sethe’s super-obsessive connection with Beloved, when she assumes that Beloved is the daughter she killed who was two years old, whose tombstone only reads “Beloved”. Sethe begins spoil Beloved and to spend, carelessly because of being guilty. Beloved becomes annoyed and more demanding, throwing foul temper when she fails to get the way she wants. Beloved being there consumes Sethe’s life until she gets exhausted and sacrifices her own desire for eating, while Beloved keeps growing tremendously big. In this case, when she gets the opening to love Beloved, she is not just trying to undo her killing of Beloved, but she is also taking the chance to become a different type of mother to Beloved. We are actually not sure whether it works.
Slavery creates circumstances where a mother is alienated from her own child, which has distressing cost for both parties. Over and over again, mothers may not refer themselves to be anything apart from a mother. Therefore, when they are not able to provide motherly love for their children, or when their offspring are taken far from them, they develop a feeling of lost self sense.The same case applies to a child is estranged from either his or her own mother, they lose the familial identity that is associated with mother and child relationships. In this case, Sethe was not able to observe the true face of her own mother and so she could not able to get attached to her own mother. Therefore, she is not able to know how to relate to her own offspring, even though she that is what she wants. Moreover, the earliest requirement a child has is connected to its mother. The baby will need breast milk from only the mother. Sethe is seriously disturbed by the experience of her milk being stolen because this then is a meaning that she is not able to form the symbolic union of herself and her daughter.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007. Print
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