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'Black Women's experiences, and in particular the meanings they attach to motherhood, are central concerns in Beloved' - How far do you agree?

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Annie Morgan Gr-E 'Black Women's experiences, and in particular the meanings they attach to motherhood, are central concerns in Beloved.' How far do you agree? In Morrison's novel Beloved the experiences of black women are greatly discussed. As we delve deeper into these experiences the idea of 'rememory' becomes apparent. This is an idea put forward by Morrison that describes how a memory is revisited by a person bringing them back to the state of mind they were experiencing at that time. This method of Morrison's is used to describe the pain and suffering that most of the black women have suffered. Morrison explores this concept of rememory with great detail as she adds physical scars, such as Sethe's 'chokecherry tree', which make it impossible for the women to ignore their past experiences. The woman that Morrison pays the most attention to is Sethe. She has suffered much and we can see it in not only her mental state but her physical state as well. Morrison describes the severe beatings Sethe suffered and the pain and torment inflicted upon her by Schoolteacher and his nephews. Sethe has horrendous scars to show for a particular occasion when Schoolteacher told his nephews to 'open up' her back. ...read more.


They look at her differently, as though her love for her children brought her to madness. Even those that are close to her find it hard to accept what she tried to do, Paul D says to her 'What you did was wrong, Sethe... there could have been a way. Some other way'. Sethe pays for her actions as she loses her children gradually anyway. Because of the ghost of one of her children in the home, her two sons, Howard and Buglar, run away. She greatly misses her children but she has to learn to live with what she did as it still plays on her mind. At the time, Sethe was just acting as a protective mother but she is paying for the 'thick' love she has for them. Baby Suggs was another woman who experiences losing her children. She lost all but one of her children when they were young, but then lost her son when he was a victim of slavery. Baby Suggs takes care of Sethe and of Sethe's children because she has no children left of her own and she is, therefore, a wounded mother. She is also protective of all of them and so when she dies, Sethe and Denver find it very hard to deal with. ...read more.


Beloved opens up to Denver and tells her about the 'dark place' that had so little room that Beloved is 'down on her side and curled up'. Besides this we find out very little about why Beloved is there and where she has come from. This is ironic as she is able to forget the past unlike Sethe who is forced to hold on to hers. Beloved has no recollection of how she came to be at 124 whereas Sethe's past has made such a dramatic impact on her. Morrison's novel not only describes what the black women have been through but also how the effects of these events have made such a huge impact on them and how they are going to live the rest of their lives. Sethe's own experience led her to violence and murder, and even though she did it for, what she felt to be, her children's own good, the incident haunts her every day until Beloved comes back to her. Morrison gives very powerful descriptions of how much Sethe and other black women have suffered. She also describes the importance of motherhood, and how a mother needs her children as much as children rely and depend on their mother. Losing a child can be the most horrific thing that a mother could ever experience and Morrison attacks this loss in a way that is dramatic and powerful. ...read more.

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