Motherhood In Toni Morrison's Beloved

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This paper analyses the theme of motherhood in the novels ‘The Color Purple’ and ‘Beloved’. Sethe and Celie are compelled to be separated from their own children. And the source of their separation is slavery. Sethe is the slave of racism and Celie is the slave of Patriarchal society. The paper reveals the psychological damage of slavery to the mother- child relationship. In the ‘Forward’ of the novel ‘Beloved’, Toni Morrison comments: “….. a history in which marriage was discouraged, impossible, or illegal; in which birthing children was required, but ‘having’ them, being responsible for them—being, in other words, their …show more content…
This is proved by Sethe as well as by Celie. In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, Sethe shows unconditional love for her children. The novel shows the idea if a mother is separated from her child, it has very bad effects on both sides. Mothers do not know themselves to be anything except a mother. When their children are taken away from, they feel something lost in their self. On the other hand, when a child is separated from his or her mother, he or she cannot feel the mother-child relationship. Sethe has never seen her mother, so, she was not able to connect with her own mother. Perhaps, this is the reason due to which she cannot form a strong bond between herself and her daughter. Her daughter Denver says, “ I spent all of my outside self loving Ma’am so she wouldn’t kill me, loving her even when she braided my head at night.”
On the other hand, in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple Celie is a different kind of mother. She was not given a chance to love her own children. When she was fourteen, she was pregnant. At that stage, she didn’t know what is motherhood and a mother’s love for her kids. She thought that her only possibility of survival is to become silent and invisible. She
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She was badly tortured by the schoolteacher and his nephews. They made chokeberry tree, its trunk, branches and even leaves on her back when she tried to escape from Sweet Home. She didn’t want that her children ever feel the same agony. Sethe’s ambition to provide her children everything she herself never had, does more harm than good. Slavery destroyed Sethe’s possibility of having normal relationship with anyone. She missed her sons : “Buglar and Howard would be twenty two and twenty three now.” Sethe is so obsessed with her maternal feeling that she killed her one daughter in order to save her from the misery of slavery that she herself has endured. Her behavior is an outcome of slavery. Sethe thought that in trying to kill her children she is caring for them and saving them from the brutality of slavery. ‘ What she had done was right because it came from true love’. But no one understands her intention behind it as Paul D says: “What you did was wrong, Sethe…. There could have been a way. Some other way…” Morrison narrates events from the mother’s point of view in ‘Beloved’. It is brutal to kill your child, but one has to look at the circumstances and reasons for Sethe’s decision. Sethe’s love for her children is unconditional: “Too thick, he said. My love was too thick. What he know about it ?

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