The Importance Of Community In Beloved By Toni Morrison

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The novel Beloved by Toni Morrison emphasizes the need for community in order for a society to evolve and move forward from a difficult history. It is impossible for the community to evolve, sustain, and survive without its members working continuously in a structured formation in which the members support each other. In the novel, the absence of support from their community poses a significant challenge for the characters to progress from the haunting memories of slavery. This absence results in the lack of self-affirmation, isolation, and makes it impossible for the characters to develop their own independent identity. The cohesion of the African American community of Cincinnati functions as a foundation for the characters to develop a true …show more content…
This disconnection causes Sethe to alienate herself from the community, thus alienating her daughter Denver as well:
Not anybody ran down to say some new white folks with the Look just rode in. The Look every Negro learned to recognize along with his ma’am’s tit. Nobody warned them, and … it wasn’t the exhaustion from a long day’s gorging that dulled them, but some other thing….like meanness….that let them stand aside, or not pay attention, or tell themselves somebody else was probably bearing the news already to the house of Bluestone Road where a pretty little slave girl had recognized a hat, and split the woodshed to kill her children (157)
This failure of the community leads to Sethe murdering Beloved (Sethe’s crawling already baby). After she commits infanticide in order to spare her child from the chokehold of slavery, the community rejects Sethe. Her action is considered as a taboo by the community, which jeopardizes her membership within the community. The members of the community quietly withdraw their support for Sethe when she needs them the most. It is the lack of support from her community that creates Sethe’s isolation. She struggles to free herself of the burden that causes a division between her and the rest of the
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Denver is the youngest child of Sethe who has been marked by utter isolation, for example “She was being avoided by her classmates….that they made excuses and altered their pace not to talk with her. It was Nelson Lord who asked her the question about her mother that put chalk….she never went back” (102). The separation of Denver from the community hinders the formation of her self-identity. Accordingly, Denver becomes increasingly lonely and self-seeking, afraid of the outside world; she confines herself to her house and is unable to go out into the community. This loneliness causes Denver’s attraction to Beloved, the embodied spirit of Sethe’s “crawling already baby” returned to haunt the present. She tends to Beloved possessively because she finally has a friend “which she badly need[s] because loneliness wore her out” (28-29). Denver constantly vies for Beloved’s attention; she protects and takes care of Beloved. However, once Denver realize Sethe’s disintegration under Beloved’s destructive control, she realizes “it was on her” to save her mother, “she would have to leave the yard…leave the two behind and go ask somebody for help” (243). This step taken by Denver begins the development of her

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