Examples Of Cruelty In Toni Morrison's Beloved

Improved Essays
Cruelty is the infliction of pain towards others and this can be through physical means or mental means. It is commonly used to show one’s superiority over another, or at times it could be perpetrated because one has lost themselves due to cruelty being inflicted on them. In many literary works, major social or political factors create a great deal of cruelty to be build up in an individual. In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, cruelty affected many lives deeply. Slavery is a cruel act that was imposed on the black society during majority of the 1800s, and many of the characters in the novel are still suffering from that effect even though it’s been over a decade since it’s been abolished. This traumatizing effect that slavery had on the populations …show more content…
She continues to fight cruelty to fight society and a political belief and system called slavery. An example of this is when she cuts the throat of her two-year-old daughter. Slavery had finally caught up to her in the form of Schoolteacher when he came back to the north to bring Sethe and her children back into the south, but Sethe, having had enough of her subjection to slavery, and wanting to save her daughter from that wretched life of slavery, she cut the throat of her two-year-old daughter. Sethe justifies her actions to Beloved and Denver here, “She had to be safe and I put her where she would be” (Morrison, 200). This is the prime example of Beloved fighting fire with fire. Being subjected to cruelty all her life, one’s mind goes to extremes causing them to take extreme actions like Sethe did with baby Beloved. In her determination to avoid giving her daughter the same fate that she had to go through, she decides to end her life. This then becomes a large regret on her part. Sethe clearly loves her children, but having been subjected to slavery and a …show more content…
Cruelty can make one do dangerous things, especially if that individual carries a fear for further cruelty, and this will cause people to do things that another might see as extreme. This ties in to the definition provided earlier, Sethe has lost herself in the fear and the worries of slavery, a form of cruelty, and so to avoid her daughters to go through the same faith she perpetrates a larger cruelty by killing her eldest daughter

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    At this moment she encounters a lot of mix thoughts of all type. The main thought she had in mind and that caused her more conflict, was of leaving her kids behind. It was heartbreaking for her and caused her a lot of pain emotionally. Even though she did it having a plan in mind. That the Flint family selled her children so she could go with them.…

    • 870 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    She is aware that she is about to do wrong, but her wrath is too strong. Madea’s compulsive need for revenge triumphed over her compassion for her children. Medea’s monologue contributes to the somber tone of the play mainly because she chooses to kill her children. Because of human nature, the audience sympathizes with the innocent kids. The monologue also contributes to the somber tone by showing Medea’s emotional attachment to her children.…

    • 1187 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    We might think that slavery is horrendous, but it was just something that happened everyday in the 19th century. The people thought that only some slave owners were cruel to their slaves. They thought that the slaves were over exaggerating about the treatment they received. When Bibb published this book, he gave the people an insight to the world of a slave. The brutal beatings and harsh conditions were piled on left and right.…

    • 876 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Abuse In Eleanor & Park

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages

    This can teach us a lesson we all need to learn. Abuse is what tore our protagonists down and filled them with sorrow. We can see Eleanor being mistreated and abused when she goes as far to say she hates her stepfather. We can also view that Eleanor is eventually so scared by her abuser that she must run away. In the book Eleanor & Park, the author has a deeper meaning for the torture Eleanor is facing.…

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Slavery, racism, and prejudice are defined by the cruelty and the pain that resulted from it. In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, acts of cruelty are continuously seen throughout the novel through the stories of the main characters that were affected by the institution of slavery either indirectly or directly. The cruelty of white supremacy plays a crucial role in shaping the lives and behaviors of Africans Americans and it caused them to commit cruel acts themselves. The pain, torture, and suffering that the African American characters go through in this novel are because of the side effects of white supremacy. The inhumanity that occurred because of the institution of slavery and the belief of white supremacy played a defining role in…

    • 1051 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In her novel Beloved, main character Sethe is used to exemplify the legacy of slavery (Crayton 112) and the horrors that occurred during this completely immoral and unethical time; and to express how truly horrid and gruesome life was for those enslaved in the South. After fleeing to Ohio with her children, Sethe believes she is safe and finally free. Shortly after her escape, she discovers that her former slave owner, “schoolteacher,” is in the area looking for her. The simple thought of surrendering her family to such a horrible man terrifies Sethe and she is willing to do anything to prevent not only herself, but also her children, from returning to Sweet Home and reliving the nightmares of slavery. After contemplating and weighing her options, Sethe decides that the only definite way to protect her children from being returned to slavery is to kill them.…

    • 1096 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    She love those children. She was trying to out-hurt the hurter.” (pg.276). That quote shows diction, “out-hurt the hurter” it was Stamp Paid’s way of justifying Sethe’s action to kill her children. Morrison had chose those words to simply explain how Sethe does not want to give satisfaction to the white people that they won and that is one way to protect her children. So in order for her to do that decides to kill her children so they would not be put into slavery and had to face what she had been through when she was a slave.…

    • 1487 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The death of Beloved represents the struggles mothers like Sethe and children like Beloved have to go through. Sethe had to kill Beloved to save Beloved. “It aint my job to know what’s worse. It’s my job to know what is and to keep them away from what I know is terrible. I did that.”(194) Sethe is guilty of having love that is too thick.…

    • 1408 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Ann Putnam was in great misery because of the death of her babies, and wants to blame someone, or something for their deaths. Mrs. Putnam believed her babies were murdered as she claims in Act I to Parris. ***********Rebecca Nurse helped deliver all her babies which lead to Putnam concluding it was her fault. Nurse, who is a strong willed character filled with hope and courage would not willingly allow the death of a child. Living without children acted as a catalyst for revenge for Mrs. Putnam.…

    • 1084 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    Sethe’s act of murder on her baby daughter, is also an act of love and sacrifice on Sethe because she is sacrificing her daughter’s life in replace of a potential life of torture in slavery. In Betty Taylor Thompson’s piece of criticism on Beloved, she discussed the themes and meanings of the novel, “Sethe remembers that slavery has denied her a relationship with her own mother and determines to have a nurturing relationship with her own children” (Thompson 4). Thompson accentuates the idea of how the absence of the mother leads to the further dehumanization, as evident through the murder of Sethe’s daughter in an attempt to ‘free’ her from slavery because “...unless carefree, mother love is a killer” (Morrison). Morrison's use of figurative language also implies a not so figurative action in the…

    • 1888 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays