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Unformatted text preview: John Abrusci ENRU 1000-33 Close Reading and Critical Writing Midterm Paper Stop Living In the Past: A Critical Analysis of Belovded At first glance, Toni Morrisons Beloved seems to tell the story of Sethes victory in gaining closure from her past, occurring when she finally realizes that Beloved is the reincarnation of her daughter, whom she had killed. Sethe finally realizes that Beloved is her daughter when Beloved hums the song that Sethe made up for her children. This discovery brings immediate peace into Sethes life, as Morrison writes the following: Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent (208). Later on, the reader sees a dramatic change in Sethes mood due to her newfound discovery regarding Beloved: She even looked straight at the shed, smiling, smiling at the things she would not have to remember now. Thinking, She aint even mad with me. Not a bit (214). However, by stating things such as, I dont have to remember nothing (216), Sethe is essentially remembering the very past she claims to have forgotten, suggesting that she has not actually found the closure she so desires from her past. Failure to examine why Sethe cannot obtain complete closure from her past may result in a misunderstanding of what role the past plays in ones present and future life. Indeed, a more careful inspection of the novel will actually confirm that the past is a permanent part of ones life, conquerable only by sharing these past events with others, as Sethe eventually does by the books end. Therefore, the past is not simply a painful recollection of events that needs to be forgotten or overcome, but instead it is a means of healing past traumas, which can only occur through the mastery of story telling. Throughout the novel, Morrison suggests that running away from the past will not solve any life problems, but instead, result in the build-up of even more problems. And although she bases many of her arguments in this novel mainly around Sethe, one character in specific from Beloved strongly and clearly exemplifies her idea in this situation---Paul D. Paul D serves as the decisive evidence that Morrison needs in order to critique the idea of running from the past. For example, Paul D is initially sold to another slave owner, whom he tries to murder in an attempt to free himself from the horrors of slavery so that he can find a life filled with genuine happiness. Afterwards, however, he finds himself in prison in Alfred, Georgia. Later, Paul D moves to 124 with the hope of finding a happy life with Sethe. However, he instead finds himself stumbling...
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course ENRU 1000 taught by Professor Kim during the Spring '08 term at Fordham.
- Spring '08
- Beloved, 124, Sethe, Beloved, Denver, Paul D, Schoolteacher