Treatment of the supernatural Elements & Dehumanization of the slaves- Hand Notes

Mofizur Rahman

Treatment of the supernatural Elements & Dehumanization of the slaves- Hand Notes

Department of English.
Honours 4th Year.
American Literature Fiction and Drama.
Beloved by Toni Morrison.
Hand Notes For Good Result.
Broad Question and Answer (Part C)
Beloved by Toni Morrison- Hand Notes

Treatment of the supernatural Elements & Dehumanization of the slaves- Hand Notes

Dehumanization of the slaves

Toni Morrison's Beloved portrays an institutionalized dehumanization of the slaves. Elucidate. 

Ans. Beloved explores the physical, emotional, and spiritual devastation wrought by slavery, a devastation that continues to haunt those characters who are former slaves even in freedom. The most dangerous of slavery's effects is its negative impact on the former slaves' senses of self, and the novel contains multiple examples of self-alienation. For instance, Paul D is so alienated  from himself that at one point he cannot tell whether the screaming  he hears is his own or someone else's.

Slaves were told they were subhuman and were traded as commodities  whose worth could be expressed in dollars, Consequently, Paul D is very insecure  about whether or not he could possibly be a real "man," and he frequently wonders about his value as a person. Sethe, also, was treated  as a subhuman . She once walked in on schoolteacher giving his pupils a lesson on her "animal characteristics." She, too, seems to be alienated from her and filled with self-loathing. Thus, she sees the best part of herself as her children. Yet her children also have volatile , unstable  identities. Denver conflates her identity with Beloved's, and Beloved feels herself actually beginning to physically disintegrate.

Slavery has also limited Baby Suggs's self-conception by shattering her family and denying her the opportunity to be a true wife, sister, daughter, or loving mother. As a result of their inability to believe in their own existences, both Baby Suggs and Paul D become depressed and tired. Baby Suggs's fatigu is spiritual, while Paul D's is emotional. While a slave, Paul D developed selfdefeating coping strategies  to protect him from the emotional pain he was forced to endure. Any feelings he had were locked away in the rusted "tobacco tin" of his heart, and he concluded that one should love nothing too intensely.

Other slaves Jackson Till, Aunt Phyllis, and Halle-went insane and thus suffered a complete loss of self. Sethe fears that she, too, will end her days in madness. Indeed, she does prove to be mad when she kills her own daughter. Yet Sethe's act of infanticide  illuminates the perverse forces of the institution of slavery: under slavery, a mother best expresses her love for her children by murdering them and thus protecting them from the more gradual destruction wrought by slavery.

Stamp Paid muses that slavery's negative consequences are not limited to the slaves: he notes that slavery causes whites to become "changed and altered... made... bloody, silly, worse than they ever wanted to be." The insidious effects of the institution affect not only the identities of its black victims but those of the whites who perpetrate it and the collective identity of Americans. Where slavery exists, everyone suffers a loss of humanity and compassion. Crucially, in Beloved, we learn about the history and legacy of slavery not from schoolteacher's or even from the Bodwins' point of view but rather from Sethe's, Paul D's, Stamp Paid's, and Baby Suggs's.

Is Sethe's murder of her own child justified? Or, Discuss in the light of your reading of "Beloved" by Toni Morrison.

Ans. Toni Morrison's 'Beloved centers round the fantastic story of the appalling  slaughter of a daughter by her own mother. The mother is Sethe and her daughter is Beloved. Sethe was the daughter-in-law of Baby Suggs, the wife of Halle and the mother of Howard, Buglar, Beloved and Denver. Eighteen years ago she lived as a slave  at a farm called Sweet Home. Sweet Home was run by a cruel  man known as schoolteacher, who allowed his nephews  to brutalize  Sethe while he took notes for his scientific studies of blacks. Sethe fled , although she was pregnant. She delivered  the child along the way with the help from a white woman named Amy. Sethe's husband, who was supposed to accompany  her, disappeared.

After her escape  to Cincinatti  with her four children, Sethe enjoyed only twenty-eight days of freedom before she was tracked down by her old master. Rather than allowing her children to be back to slavery, she attempted to kill all of them, succeeding only in killing the baby girl. She stopped her white master by cutting the throat of her daughter with handsaw. Her attempt to kill them all was extremely  brutal but in some cases though hardly but justifiable. The question is whether it was done out of love or a way to free herself?

Sethe was ruined by repeated rape and untold humiliation by the white masters. Still she considered her children the best and clean thing of herself. So she would not let anybody taint that part of her. Sethe would go to any extent to dirty herself to retain the purity of her children. This is evident when she agrees to offer sex for ten minutes to engraver before his young son. She did it as a price to be paid for engraving the word 'Beloved on the tombstone of her dead daughter. And the ten minutes for her were more unbearable than even her killing of the small daughter.

If we consider the matter deeply, we will see that there lies selfishness in her refusal to accept personal responsibility for her baby's death. She continuously says that she didn't want them to be taken back to Sweet Home. She displays her love by mercifully sparing her daughter from a horrific life. But Sethe refuses to acknowledge that her show of mercy is also murder. Throughout Beloved Sethe's character consistently displays the dualistic nature of her actions.

Soon after Sethe's reunion with Paul D. She describes her reaction to Schoolteacher's arrival: "Oh, no, I wasn't going back there (Sweet Home). I went to jail instead". Thus we see she killed Beloved as a way to avoid going back and retain her freedom. Sethe's words suggest that she has made a moral stand in favour of killing Beloved.

Sethe had a love for her children and her life that she committed a crime that was in a way understandable due to the circumstances. Although she denied it her actions were selfish. Using her children as a way to escape slavery and returning to sweet home, she believed she was sending them to a better place.

Treatment of the supernatural Elements 

Discuss Tony Morrison's treatment of the supernatural in his novella 'Beloved'.

Ans. A major part of the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison is the case of someone being haunted. The supernatural element pervades the novel. The characters are haunted by the past, because of the choices they've made and the things they've done. All of the characters were affected by slavery, but Sethe, Denver, and Paul D are haunted by the past that stretches and grasps them in 124. Beloved's character is an obvious use of the supernatural. She's like a vampire that sucks the soul, the heart, and the mind of her mother while draining the relationships that exists between Denver with Sethe and Sethe with Paul D.

Sethe is the most dramatically haunted in the book. She is the one whose past is so horrible that it is inescapable. She is the one who was permanently scarred by slavery. She has scars left from being whipped. She calls them a "tree" . She decided to murder her own child rather than allow her to be forced into slavery, because she had suffered so much from it. It is inclined that her past is represented on her back, meaning that it is something that is behind her, something she cannot see but knows that is there.

When Paul D enters Sethe's life, he discovers a haunting of Sethe almost immediately. He walks into 124 and notices that there is an unwanted spirit in the house. "It was sad. Walking through it, a wave of grief soaked him so thoroughly he wanted to cry". Paul D stopped Beloved's haunting, in her spirit form, the first time by screaming "God damn it! Hush up! Leave the place alone! Get the Hell out!" But Beloved is Sethe's greatest haunt. When Beloved arrives in physical form, Sethe is forced to turn around and confront the past. The reversal of power from Sethe to Beloved takes place when Beloved started to become like a parasite to Sethe.

The parasitic aspect of motherhood is amplified in this novel. Beloved represents the fetus in Sethe's uterus. It sucks the life from and nourishes its body by taking the mother's body and nutrients. Her mind and actions speak as a child not as an adult. She loves her mother and wants her all to herself like a little two year old child. She even loves Denver like a little sister, but she is also jealous of her. She is also jealous of Denver's relationship with her mother and the fact that Denver survived and she didn't.

The idea of Beloved leaving would crush Sethe. Sethe didn't do anything, can't do anything except "those times when Beloved needed her. She sat in the chair licking her lips like a chastised child while Beloved ate up her life, took it, swelled up with it, grew taller on it."

Towards the end of the novel, Beloved switches from being an innocent child who just wants to be with her mother. She becomes an evil deceitful child who wants reyenge from her mother for killing her. Sethe's guiltiness makes it that much easier for her to do so. When Paul D first shows up at the doorstep of 124, he seems to be aware of the necessity of confronting the past in order to escape its grip.

The only way Sethe can escape Beloved's hold is only with the help of those around her. Denver tries to keep Sethe alive; the community helps to expel Beloved; Paul D supports Sethe by telling her that she, not her children, is her own best thing. The only way they can possibly enjoy the future together is to deal with the past.

To sum up we may say that Morrison's use of the supernatural in Beloved is a highly discussed topic. However, this subject is very intriguing to the reader of the novel.

Special Message For Readers
My favorite English department students
brothers and sisters Welcome to Thinking that your suffering will be reduced, I have brought it for you in simple and fluent language. Hope it will be useful for you.
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আপনাদের সকল প্রয়োজনীয় নোট ও সাজেশন্স পেতে আমার এই পেইজের সাথে থাকুন । ধন্যবাদ।

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