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Does the character of Paul D challenge the view that Morrison is a feminist writer

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Introduction

Does the character of Paul D challenge the view that Morrison is a feminist writer? Paul D is a character who has suffered tremendously at the hands of slavery. His brutal ordeals as part of the chain gang show how much this has affected him. This is designed to create pathos for the character and this pathos is heightened when he is portrayed as a strong yet kind character, a 'gentle giant.' He is also proud of his masculinity and values a sense of autonomy when he is allowed one. This suggests that his character does challenge the view that Morrison is a feminist writer. Alternatively, the character of Paul D could be viewed as a weak one. His strength at times is portrayed as negative and his "manly" thoughts mean that he cannot understand Sethe's love for her children. Also, he is seduced by Beloved and, for the majority of the novel; he is denied a sense of autonomy, suggesting a theme of masculine inferiority. This is a view that would support the idea that Morrison was a feminist writer. ...read more.

Middle

It elevates him to the point where is suggests male superiority, thus challenging the view that Morrison is a feminist writer. When he arrives at 124, he takes Sethe and Denver out to the festival. Sethe realises when they are walking that "they were not holding hands, but their shadows were." This could suggest, had it not been up heaved by the arrival of Beloved, that the coming of Paul D could unify 124 and could finally make it a positive environment. It is also shown that Paul D is positive in the sense that he says "howdy to everyone within twenty feet." This also demonstrates how Paul D is welcoming, which could represent a chance for Sethe to return back to normal black society and end her being shunned. This is also shown when they are walking home where the shadows are "leading them now" suggesting a positive future for Sethe with Paul D. This is all because of the arrival of Paul D, which does challenge the view that Morrison was a feminist writer. However, there are a number of points which could suggest a weakness in Paul D's character and he is at times portrayed in a negative way. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rooster is described as having "sat on the tub...like a throne" and this regal imagery elevates the rooster far beyond that of D's status, thus making him inferior, and less masculine. Paul D is emasculated when he is part of the chain gang and he becomes like a "watchdog without teeth" which brings with it connotations of him being powerless and without a sense of masculinity. For Morrison to portray him like this would suggest an inclination towards more feminist views. Paul D's character does present a number of positive qualities: he is kind and strong, and pathos can be seen to emit from him a numerous points in the novel. However he is thrown out of 124 and turns to alcohol because he cannot accept what has happened, demonstrating a weakness. This feeling is heightened when he is seduced by Beloved, symbolising the power of women over men. This over-riding example could be seen to support the fact that Morrison is a feminist writer. However the fact that she shows Paul D as strong and kind on the whole, and that she shows Sethe and Beloved as weak at times would mean that although there are feminist aspects to "Beloved," overall, Morrison is less biased in her writing preferring to portray both sexes as equals in strength and weakness. ...read more.

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