Independence And Selflessness In Toni Morrison's Beloved

1318 Words 5 Pages
In nearly every family, children are dependent on their parent or guardian for nourishment, care,

and a source for happiness. They lack the maturity and understanding about the world in order to make

their own decisions. Therefore, they aren’t able to seek the independence and freedom until they are old

enough and properly prepared to explore the world on their own. Once children gain the wisdom to do

so, they free themselves from the detention of adult dependence. Furthermore, they are able to take

ownership of their freed self when they can make their own decisions. In Toni Morrison’s novel,

Beloved, protagonist character Denver has spent her entire life dependent on the company and care of

her mother, Sethe. Her mother imprisoned
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Piling itself, burying itself. Higher. Deeper’ (158). Morrison effectively connotes Denver as

the snow, doing all the work to cover the house. In other words, she takes action on her own to help

the entire household. While Sethe became too distracted in her love affairs with Paul D, Denver took

initiative to comfort Beloved when nobody could do so. While Denver becomes more independent and

mother-like to Beloved due to her altruistic actions, her actions of taking responsibility ultimately prove

her ownership for her freed self because nobody dictates her to help around the house and provide her

time and energy to help her loved ones. She acts entirely on her own and makes her own decisions to

show her escape from being a dependent child.

Denver achieves the goal of claiming ownership of her freed self when she takes on the

responsibility to find a job entirely on her own. Sethe loses her job after dedicating all of her attention

for Beloved to reconcile their problematic relationship; thus, Denver takes charge of the household and

searches for a job to support the family. Denver left 124 for the first time by herself and sought Lady

Jones because Denver knew that “she would hire herself out somewhere and although she was afraid
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Although Denver goes out to find a job, further evaluation is

necessary to understand how it was the make-or-break deal of Beloved and Sethe’s relationship. In

other words, Denver needed to find the job or else everything that Sethe and Beloved improved upon in

their relationship would become shattered. She knew that “somebody had to be saved, but unless

Denver got work, there would be no one to save, no one to come home to, and no Denver either”

(296). As we examine Morrison’s use of the phrase, “and no Denver either” at the end, it reveals how

important finding a job meant not only for Sethe and Beloved, but for Denver as well. She knows that if

she didn’t sustain their relationship, Denver would lose the ownership of her freed self because a

shattered relationship in her family would shatter her as well. She would become fragile again, unable to make her own decisions and possibly end up isolated in 124 again. Therefore, not only is Denver raising

money to sustain Sethe and Beloved’s relationship, but she is also helping herself maintain ownership for

her own freedom in her life because it gives her a sense of relief that she can make a positive

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