Blog Post 8: Rememories

Hi everyone,

Since people have been doing a nice job pursuing their own interests and lines of thinking in the blog recently, I’m going to make this first post on Beloved open-ended and up to you again. There’s lots to think about in this first section of the novel — the question of what Morrison is doing with time, memory, and history is certainly one important thing we’ll discuss Monday, so you might write on that if it interests you. But feel free to focus on whatever seems significant as something that would allow you a way into thinking about the larger issues of the novel. The only fundamental requirement here is that you ground your thinking in close analysis of specific language from the novel — think about the larger questions and issues that Morrison’s rich prose opens up and what seems significant in it to you. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you Monday!

Reminder: your response should go in the comments section for this post — click the “Leave a Comment” link at the top of the post. It should be at least 250 words, and is due by midnight on Sunday, October 23rd. After class on Monday, you should return to this thread and post a response to one classmate’s post by class time Wednesday the 26th. If you have any questions, let me know via email.

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23 thoughts on “Blog Post 8: Rememories

  1. Jessica Pavia
    Blog Post 8

    On page 33, I found the quote “How loose the silk. How fine and loose and free” to really stick out. The first time I read this passage, I thought it was a metaphor for how she felt at that time, how she was loose and free. But after going back once reading further, I realized that even if that was how Sethe was remembering that time, she surely was not free back at the Sweet Home. Sethe can barely talk about this time of her life to her daughter, and what she does remember is always some form of hurt or fear. With these interjections of false hope and remembrance, I think Morrison is making a statement about how uncertain memory is. This moment in Sethe’s life has been romanticized and glossed over to where she remembers being free with Halle and that’s all.
    Time affects memory because with the passing of time, important details become faded. It’s human nature to make good memories great and to push bad memories to the side. Throughout Sula, Morrison plays with time and narration to show just how uncertain memory is. Paul D remembers sitting with his brothers at Sweet Home while Sethe and Halle were in the corn. Paul D remembers “It had been hard, hard, hard sitting there erect as dogs, watching corn stalks dance at noon” (32). Paul D remembers how he and his brothers took advantage of the not-so-hidden newlyweds, invading a very personal memory of Sethe’s. Even though Sethe understands that she and Halle had not been well hidden, she does not know that the boys sat and watched. She trusted their honeymoon moment was their own, or at least made herself believe this through time. With such intertwining narration and time settings, Morrison is showing just how layered a memory can become and how untrustworthy our own sense of time is. With her layering of narrators, Morrison shows how easily our minds as readers become tricked by the absence of detail or clear storytelling.

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    • There is a film term called “Trauma Theory,” which I brought up in class, and I think it’s very relatable to what you are interpreting. It is true that the memories Morrison describes are hazy and confusing, and that we do not know, most of the time, what the she is referencing. For example, you thought the silk was a metaphor for Sethe’s freedom, but later on you realize that she is not free at all, and it seems that Sethe has completely changed her mind about her memory. I did some further research and found that trauma affects chronological memories and mental process. Though I am not sure if Morrison did this on purpose, her story is told through the eyes of a traumatized person, therefore the writing is jumbled and dream-like. As you said, it makes the writing “absent of detail” and “unclear.” The reason why this story is so nonlinear is because it offers what is was like emotionally. Traumatic history will never be able to be told clearly by those who experienced it. If you want to look into this more (it’s interesting) here’s a link: http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199791286/obo-9780199791286-0147.xml

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  2. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Sethe is a former slave living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is living with her eighteen-year-old daughter Denver and previously living with them was the grandmother, Baby Suggs who had recently died after falling into a deep depression. A quote that stood out to me was the very first line of the novel, “124 was spiteful. Full of baby’s venom.” Immediately I am thinking, what does 124 mean? As I was reading, it was found that 124 was the number of the address of the house that Sethe, Denver, and Baby Suggs had been living in. Baby Suggs had been living in the house until eight years ago when she died. Sethe had a baby daughter who died and now the house is haunted by her ghost. From interpreting the reading, it seems that the ghost of the baby daughter is very upset by her death. It also seems throughout the reading that there is a lot of anger from the other characters. Denver seems to be angered by a number of things such as Baby Suggs for dying and at Sethe for abandoning her. This leads Denver not to trust anyone. There seems to be a lot of loss from what we had read so far. Baby Suggs had her children taken away from her by white people to turn them into slaves. Denver also seems to have had loss in her life such as not having a close friend or family member to confide to. Her actions tell us that she is lonely because she doesn’t have a good relationship with her mother and no longer has her two brothers since they ran away. In addition, when she forms a sort of relationship with the ghost, she is angered at Paul D for scaring it away since this was her closest thing to a companion.

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    • Andrew,

      When I first started reading this novel, I was also in a state of anguish trying to understand the meaning behind 124. Although we found that it was an address for the house Sethe and Baby Suggs lived in, I felt that there is greater meaning behind it. Like the ghost, the address of the house is a fixed reminder of history. The fact that the characters in this novel refer to their house by the number 124, it indicates the absence of Sethe’s third child and the deprivation of identity most slaves experienced during the 19th century. When she was running away from Sweet Home, Sethe lost one of her children. Early in the novel, Sethe tells Paul D about the state of her lost child, she said “No. I think he’s dead. It’s not being sure that keeps him alive” (9). It seems, Sethe has given up and have prioritized her time and resources on the one child she has left, which suggest that slavery devastated its victim’s family structure immeasurably. Even though Sethe had the opportunity to act as a mother figure to Denver, her mother-in-law Baby Suggs, have been deprived of her opportunity to be a mother from the loss of all of her eight children. Also refereeing to a house by its number and the name that was given to Paul D, Paul F, Paul A, etc., it speaks to the fact how slavery was able to dismantle the identity of its victims completely.

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  3. Rebekah Clapham
    Beloved Response

    For this blog post I want to focus specifically on the symbol of trees throughout this section of the novel. Specifically, the scene on pages 20-21 and the depiction of the tree on Sethe’s back seems significant. Sethe’s back is covered in multiple scars she got from being whipped after trying to run away. These scars have formed a shape of a “chokecherry tree.” In this scene, Sethe is showing Paul D her scars and tell him the story of how she got them. Paul D describes the scars as “like the decorative work of an ironsmith too passionate for display… he would not tolerate no peace until he had touched every ridge and leaf of it with his mouth, none of which Sethe could feel because her back skin had been dead for years” (21). For Sethe, it seems everyday is a challenge to forget the haunting memories of slavery, her past, and everything she lost due to slavery. Slavery shattered her family, and rid her of an identity outside of being a servant. The scars on Sethe’s back seem to be representative of her dehumanizing years as a slave. They are a constant reminder of her past as a slave—a symbolic burden of the knowledge of her and her family’s past suffering. The fact that her scars are in the shape of a tree also seems symbolic of a family tree—representing Sethe’s incomplete family tree. Sethe carries around the physical representation of all that she has lost. The family tree is comprised of Sethe’s dead skin—she can no longer feel anything on that part of her back. Sethe can not even feel Paul D’s kisses on her back as he attempts to make her feel whole again—symbolizing Sethe is missing an essential part to her identity and happiness: community and family. This is also shown in this scene in the way Sethe tells the story about being whipped. Paul D is most shocked by the fact that the men beat her when she was pregnant however Sethe argues the fact that the men took her milk was more traumatizing (20). Even when she was being attacked and beaten, Sethe was preoccupied with the theft of her breast milk, suggesting she prioritizes the rights of her children over her own. When Paul D kisses her back she feels nothing, but when he cups her breasts she is “relieved of their weight” now that the “responsibility for her breasts” is Paul D’s for a moment. This further suggests that Sethe deems her own torture and pain insignificant compared to the pain of her children, family, and the weight of the responsibility she feels to protect them/the burden of not being able to.
    The tree is also an important symbol for Denver. Denver has created an “emerald home” in the woods, surrounded by trees. Morrison narrates that the woods provide a safe place for Denver, and a place where she goes when she feels lonely. Morrison describes, “Denver’s imagination produced its own hunger and its own food, which she badly need because loneliness wore her out. Wore her out. Veiled and protected by the live green walls, she felt ripe and clear, and salvation was as easy as a wish” (35). Denver has spent most of her life feeling isolated and disconnected from community. She feels incredibly lonely living with just her mother, and not having any connection to others. The trees provide a place that feeds her “hunger” for family and connection and makes her feel protected and less lonely. The green walls are described as “live” implying being in an environment that reminds her of family/community makes her feel more alive. This further suggests that the symbol of the tree is used to represent family, community, and connection. The tree symbol is also used when Beloved shows up—they find her leaning against a tree. Beloved seems to be a direct tie to Sethe’s history, the past, and old family, thus Morrison uses the tree again to symbolize connection and community.

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    • After class today I also realized the significance of trees in this novel. When Paul D first arrives, he thinks that Sethe’s back scars are beautiful and metaphoric, but after they have sex they’re just a “revolting clump of scars” (23). This is such a contrast especially after how carefully he attended to the scars and kissed every one. Another interesting contrast is how Sethe still thinks that the sycamore trees used to hang slaves from are beautiful. How can the trees still be beautiful to Sethe with slaves, probably people she knows are loves, hanging from them? There’s such a separation between what is horrific and what is beautiful in their slavery life. Sethe’s whipping scars are beautiful just as the hanging trees are beautiful, demonstrating the horrific objectification with which slaves have to look at the world to have any sort of positive outlook.

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  4. Morrison’s novel Beloved presents itself in the same manner as her other novels, the reader is thrown into confusing exposition about the novel’s setting with a confusing timeframe and loose description of each oddly-named character’s relation to the others. In a relatively dull living situation, colour is important theme in the novel beginning with Baby Sugg’s fascination with “pondering color” (4). Fabrics as well seem to be symbolic to the characters; coloured fabrics, different kinds of fabrics like velvet, silk, and wool are symbols of class and status. In Morrison’s novels the setting of the story is incredibly important, and lifelike characteristics are given to the house 124, making it a character itself. Haunted by Sethe’s dead baby, the house lives and breathes and is noticeably filled with evil. The haunted house represents the post-slavery cultural understanding of faith and superstition, that a house haunted by the tortured soul of Sethe’s dead baby is neither untrue nor out of the ordinary. Paul D can immediately detect the evil inside the house and is unsurprised by the horror of the baby’s death.
    Morrison describes all of the characters with a certain hardness and withdrawn privacy, jaded by the atrocities of slavery and post-bellum difficulties, Sethe and Paul D are especially stoic in regards to secrets and emotions. Secrecy and revealing of secrets are relatable themes of the novel. Morrison delves into Denver’s hidden pleasures, saying her “secrets were sweet” (34), pertaining to her somewhat vain asphyxiation with colognes and perfumes. With Morrison’s incomplete exposition on the character’s difficulties and crucial life events, reading the novel is like uncovering the character’s secrets and not truly understanding them until the very end.

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    • I find it interesting that you point out that the house is a character in this novel. It was not something that I have thought of but you are right with this assessment. Right from the first line of the book, Morrison did not say the house or the whole address, just 124. It gives the story more meaning by making the house a character. I definitely agree that Morrison is using description of the characters because we can’t know their whole story until the end is reached.

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  5. I think two main ideas that were interesting to me were the ideas of memory and identity. Everyone who was a former slave in this novel so far has either repressed memories of being a slave or loss of identity from when they were a slave. Sethe says, “Right on her rib was a circle and a cross burnt right in the skin. She said, ‘This is your ma’am. This, I am the only one got this mark now… If something happens to me and you can’t tell me by my face, you can know me by this mark” (Morrison 72). Other than the morbid imagery that is presented in this quote through the diction. The mother is very concerned with the idea of identity. She has none except for this simple cross mark on her body. Before many others had this, but now that she is the only one left with it, she can now be identified. This seems like almost like a proud moment in the mother’s life and has stuck with Sethe all these years later. It shows the harshness of life that these slaves had to endure, but also the ideas of their identities being stripped from them. Sethe, a former slave struggles with this idea as well of who she is. She never quote knows throughout this part of the novel. Denver also feels a disconnect from the rest of the world at this time, because she cannot connect with the feelings that people went through as slaves. She is a very introverted character who seems to lose her identity through these ideas of having no connection to the past or any memories that connect her to that time period like her mother and Paul D. do. Also Paul D. has a name that literally does not have any identifying qualities to it, because at Sweet Home, there were many other Pauls only being separated by one letter, the first one in their last names most likely.

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    • I agree that identity/loss of identity is a central part of this novel. I specifically want to focus on Denver’s lack of identity, as I think it is something she greatly struggles with throughout what we have read so far. I support your statement that Denver “cannot connect with the feelings that people went through as slaves” and that “she is a very introverted character who seems to lose her identity through these ideas of having no connection to the past or any memories that connect her to that time period like her mother and Paul D. do.” Denver is in a tough situation because while she was fortunate enough not to have to experience slavery like her family members, she deals with the consequences of slavery everyday. Denver lives with people whose experience in slavery makes up a large part of their identity—thus she is not able to connect with them on that level. On top of this, Denver is isolated from her community as people avoid 124, after learning that it is haunted. 124 is haunted with the ghost of Beloved, who Sethe killed in order to protect from slavery, highlighting another way the effects of slavery have isolated Denver from human connection. This lack of connection and identification with her family makes Denver feel very lonely, and as a result, she strongly clings on to Beloved when Beloved comes back to the house. Beloved is a character that Denver can most relate to. Now that Denver’s other siblings have left, Beloved is the only sibling she has that loves Sethe as much as she does, and has directly experienced the consequences of slavery. While Denver got to live, she has to deal with her mother’s pain of the past everyday. Beloved understands Sethe’s pain, as her death was a direct result of it. Thus Beloved is the character Denver can most identify with which is why she feels so attached to Beloved when Beloved returns.

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  6. In Beloved, Toni Morrison separates time from memory. Yes, the presence of memories are so entirely present in her novel, but a memory is not meant to be seen as a simple recollection of the past, “I used to think it was rememory . . . but it’s not,” (43). When Seethe first interacts with her grandmother, Baby Suggs there is no time stamp given even though the reader has already been informed that she is dead. The reader begin is given an overview and then begin the story in the past, but because there is no specific time frame establishment the past reads like the present. And it continues to do this throughout the novel. Morrison writes in thirst person, primarily from Seethe’s perspective – the reader follows Seethe’s train of though which is like a scattered timeline. Unless Seethe is explaining the past, like to her daughter, Denver, “And now the part Denver loved best,” (38) then there is no clear line as to what date the story is now taking place. Out loud, Seethe has full control over her past, but internally it constantly collides with the present. Seethe cannot separate time, because even “if a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place – picture of it – stays, and not just in rememory, but out there, in the world,” (43). Memory is vague and as Morrison demonstrates, a memory is simply not a memory if it feels like it still being actively lived and for Seethe it is – everything interchanges with each other moment by moment and it is all written in the past tense.

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    • I love your idea of how Morrison separates time from memory. This made me realize how true this is in our own personal lives as well, and how accurately Morrison captures this in her narrative. When a person remembers their past (particularly a traumatic past) they are not thinking about it in terms of a time-line. This is yet another reason why I think the high school project we discussed in class of ordering the events of the novel in a time-line, is senseless. Instead, we see images, we see pictures, moments, and feelings. One of my favorite quotes of all time is Maya Angelou’s “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In a way, I think that Morrison is replicating this idea. Her dialogue is messy, all over the place, the “rememories” are all out of order. But this isn’t the point. The point is the emotion behind the events. And those emotions, Morrison captures beautifully.

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  7. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, she sets up Denver’s feeling and views towards Sethe when Paul D. went to visit their house and Sethe started to act as if she was a shy and timid girl instead of the strong woman that Denver knows.When Paul D. was in the house, Denver notes that her mother was, “The one who never looked away, who when a man got stomped to death by a mare right in front of Sawyer’s restaurants did not look away…”(Morrison 14) and, “She had taken a hammer, knocked the dog unconscious…” (Morrison 14). This shows that Denver sees her mother as a strong and independent individual which is opposite of what Sethe was displaying. Sethe wasn’t acting like herself around Paul D. and it made Denver feel uneasy about Paul and his business in the house. This made Denver upset and worried because her own mother was, “looking away from her own body” (Morrison 14) which shows how the fast the mood in the room changed. This shows how easy people act like a different person when certain people come around because they have to accommodate for social situations but is sometimes forced to because they would not be accepted if they were themselves. These social cues will be important throughout this novel because we will get to see how often people change themselves in order to fit in or the distance they go just to be someone’s friend.

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    • I think you could also argue the opposite. Her mind is scattered and in a constant state of trauma, yet Denver sees a brave and bold woman. When Paul D arrives, she feels like there is a release, like she doesn’t have to do everything – like she can let go a little. She no longer has to fend for herself and Denver – she only has to continue to fend for Denver. As she gives away a piece of her prior responsibility, she show a few parts of herself that she felt the need to conceal beforehand. Does Paul D change the way Seethe acts or does he bring out her true self?

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  8. Morrison’s writing is very mysterious, making many things not comprehensive because the story is written as if it is a dream. Dead characters suddenly speak in the present, like Baby Suggs, when there is no mention if she is a vision or a memory. There is a baby ghost haunting Sethe’s house and Denver is frightened by it, possibly because Denver has an intuitive and abnormal sixth sense. The story has haunting qualities to it and this is especially enhanced with eerie symbolism.

    An example of “dark” or “eerie” symbolism is when Sethe, Paul D, and Denver go to the festival and they walk alongside a road of dying and rotten roses. The roses were planted twelve years ago, but are just now dying. This is an incredibly long time for flowers to be alive, and the fact that they are roses, a romantic but also symbolic flower of death, makes it all the more eerie. Morrison writes, “The sawyer who had planted them twelve years ago to give his workplace a friendly feel—something to take the sin out of killing trees for a living—was amazed by their abundance; how rapidly they crawled all over the stake-and-post fence that separated the lumberyard from the open field next to it where homeless men slept, children ran and, once a year, carnival people pitched tents” (57). The sawyer tries to make his workplace seem friendly and inviting by planting roses, but the roses ended up decaying and making his lot seem even more unfriendly. The roses “crawl” which is a word that makes them seem desperate and bug-like. They crawl over the fence to the people experiencing a hard life on the other side—poor children, homeless people, and circus freaks. The rotten roses are symbolic of the economic and racial divide in the country, shown by the fact that the pretty roses were planted by a white male “to take the sin out.” Ironically, the white man cannot dissolve his sins, shown by the fact that the flowers leave his side of the property and join the suffering people beyond the fence. This symbolically represents how white people tried to reason with their atrocious behavior, but their delusion slowly deteriorated because their behavior is so obviously immoral. The roses were planted to delude others, but the roses knew that their there are other people on the other side of the fence who are suffering.

    The roses are like an all-seeing presence that know the true feeling of the sawyer. This contributes to the haunting qualities of the book, because there is a presence that knows that there is something heavy going on. Denver also seems to be an all-seeing presence that feels for other people. Having mysterious, mystical qualities to the story makes it seem like everything is a dream, a past life, that feels like it is underwater and vague when trying to remember. The haziness could be signs of trauma, which alters perceptions of memories. The traumatic and hazy filter tinting the story makes the story seem all the more realistic. If this was deliberate, it greatly contributes to Morrison’s portrayal of emotional pain.

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    • ‘ello Alex!

      I absolutely agree about this novel resembling a dream. As I’ve read further and further into Beloved, the events of the novel unfold, but never quite in order. We get a part of a story here and there, but only when a character thinks about it. The memories of the characters haunt progression through this story, and it’s often hard to tell what exactly what present time is, if there is present time at all. Morrison writes as if we experiencing the second hand trauma through the perspective of the characters, hazy and almost too hard to follow at times, which adds to the idea that we really shouldn’t “get” this novel.

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  9. Places cannot die; sometimes places may even haunt us. Toni Morrison captures this idea in “Beloved” through the character of Sethe. Morrison uses Sethe’s flashbacks of her former enslaved household (in which she refers to as “Sweet Home”) as a way to capture the horrific meaning behind the image of a memory. Sethe states: “Some things go…Some things just stay…Places, places are still there…the picture of it— stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there in the world” (Morrison 43). The image of this home and former way of life is itself the monster within the novel. Just because Sethe is not living in the house anymore, and just because she has escaped to live a new life of freedom, does not necessarily mean that she is free. She is still enslaved by the memory of the home, which is why it can be seen as monstrous. As we have discussed with our former readings such as “Frankenstein,” “Dracula”, etc. there has been a common theme of power and control between the monster, its creator and it’s victims. While the house and Sethe’s memories are not living and breathing, they still continuously haunt her and control her living situation for the present and years to come.

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    • Hey Avery,
      Its important to point out that the house was Sethe’s former enslaved home because it is haunted by Baby Suggs and affects Denver and Sethe emotionally as they live in that house. I also find it interesting that you see the memory of the house as monstrous because of the history that is within the house. The memory haunts the family and how they happily they are able to live without fear which is not a usual sight for them.

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  10. The narrator in Morrison’s novel Beloved is very different from some of the other texts we have read. Unlike the narrator and the tone in A Cool Million the narrator is very in touch with the reality, giving respect to the character and to their individual backgrounds in a non-condescending way. However, much like a Cool Million and Metamorphosis the monstrosity in this novel is obvious. In this novel there is not only rape , but sexual intercourse between animals, racism,act of misogyny and death on a greater scale than that of our previous novels excluding Frankenstein.While death and rape are both gruesome subjects to discuss, Morrison’s language focuses more so on the world around these subjects. her language casts events such as the hanging of African american boys and the death of a woman’s baby as something that can be over looked by trees and sex. so far this text is an example of how the most tragic events in a woman’s life can be overlooked and belittled for the desires and the world around them.

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  11. Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” traces monstrosity through its narrative structure and thematic elements. As with Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Metamorphosis, the addition of the supernatural can emphasize ideas of monstrosity through exaggeration. In Beloved, Sethe’s dead daughter haunts 214, both as a blessing and a curse. After Paul D begins to undress Sethe in the kitchen, the houses presence begins to become apparent. Morrison states,“It took [Paul D] awhile to realize that his legs were not shaking because of worry, but because the floorboards were and the grinding, shoving floor was apart of it”(18).* This supernatural presence parallels the symbolic presence of memory, and the way that memories can forever bless and haunt you. When Paul D has sex with Sethe, Sethe’s dead daughter becomes angry, likely for trying to take his place where Halle should be. This could parallel the idea that Sethe’s memory of her family still occurs to her, as if it were a ghost. We see this in the Morrison’s constant change between the current time period, and memories, that are so heavily intertwined, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish what is being referred to. Most of the memories referred to aren’t pleasant daydreams, but rather monstrous nightmares. This phenomena is referred to in Chapter 3. Morrison states,“Some things go…Some things just stay…Places, places are still there…the picture of it— stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there in the world” (35).

    *My edition of the book is older and may not have the same page numbers

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    • Hi! It took me a bit to realize that the daughter was actually haunting the house, rather than just a supernatural idea held by Sethe and Denver. When I did, it suddenly became apparent how important her presence is to their story and their memories. Sethe cannot escape her past–it actually haunts her. And every time she thinks she has become stronger than the ghost, or found a way to overcome it, a stronger force reveals itself. When Paul D comes into Sethe’s life and hints at creating a “family” dynamic with Sethe and her daughter, then the ghost manifests itself into an actual woman with Beloved. I think Morrison is making a statement about how quick we are to disregard our pasts, but how no matter how hard we try, it always weaves its way into our present day lives.

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  12. Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a story about an African-American family that struggles to reconcile with the past. Sethe, the main protagonist, constantly fights with her thoughts yearning to construct a sense of identity. The burden of slavery and her daughter’s death has forced her to suppress certain characteristics such as attachment, love, memory and other human qualities. The fading of Sethe’s memory signifies the challenges of constructing her identity at the pace of her fading memory. Morrison through this novel is attempting to show us the physiological damages of slavery from the perspective of an African-American family during the mid 19th century. Sethe finds herself at a state of puzzlement for not remembering something she knew before, “She had to do something with her hands because she was remembering something she had forgotten she knew” (Morrison, 73). Sethe’s dilemma suggests, when she was a slave, her method of copping with the wretchedness of slavery was by going through the motions without consciously being present. She tried to scape her misery by hiding in her own fantasies and diving into dreamlike states. However, her unconscious mind has been picking up a certain things from the past and they are slowly emerging into reality. Also Sethe’s motivation to go through the motions has disrupted her sense of time, “ I was talking about time. It’s so hard for me to believe in it. Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay” (43). Sethe struggles to maintain a sense of identity because the lack of memory and the distorted image of time. Without a sense of time, it is hard to paint a picture and construct a full image of her past.

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  13. I agree on the idea of loss of identity and memory throughout the novel so far. Morrison presents these ideas through the character of Sethe. She is a misunderstood character throughout the novel, so far, because she is trapped in her memories. On one hand we see her as a strong independent woman who wants to only focus on her kids, but at the same time, when she travels back into her memories of Sweet Home, we see another side of her. She is stuck to her past, which is a horrific one as a slave. Morrison describes the people around her as always thinking of rape and being men who are savage. These memories all trigger at once when Paul D pops back into her life once again. Denver sees this change in her mom and points it out many times. One thing you said peeked my interest. Identity and the loss of it is related to time. I think this is also done through the confusing narration that Morrison presents this book in. The entire book is a confusing journey through time and the reader doesn’t always know if they are in a flashback or the present. It is like while reading the reader simultaneously looses track of time at the same time some of the characters are also losing their identity and time.

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