Beloved is Toni Morrison’s haunting story of a mother’s struggle to protect her children in post-slavery America. Sethe, mother of children and with one on the way, runs away from a plantation in search for her husband’s mother and a safe home.
“It’s gonna hurt. Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”
Sethe’s definition of love and motherhood is to protect her children at all costs from slavery, and this brings her to attempt to murder all of her children, succeeding with one. It also brings her to protect her children from her own stories that she herself cannot even move on from.
“Some things you forget. Other things you never do…If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place—the picture of it—stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world” (43).
Beloved walks out of a river one day, with “new skin, lineless and smooth, including the knuckles of her hands” (61), and thus Sethe must finally confront her guilt and her past.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel. New York: Knopf, 1987. Print.
Bressler, Charles. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Longman, 2011. 5th ed. Print.