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Unformatted text preview: Mirroring the despair of William Styron's Sophie's Choice, Beloved details a clinging ambivalence fed on a past so lurid and unrelenting that it will give the suffering mother no respite. In Styron's novel, visions of Sophie's daughter handed over to Nazi child-burners lead to mental disintegration and alienation from love. In Morrison's, Sethe's torment refuses to dissipate, threatening not only her own well-being but that of Denver. Like Hester Prynne, who is consumed by secret sin and alienation in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, Sethe's paralysis and longing alternately confine and impel her toward a new and healing love and ease Denver into a supportive community of women. At the end of Beloved, Sethe has withdrawn from the world, much like Hester at the end of The Scarlet Letter. However, whereas Hester's isolation is caused by her relationship with Arthur Dimsdale, Sethe's relationship with Paul D...
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- Fall '09