Title: Beloved Author: Toni Morrison Date: An important idea in Beloved by Toni Morrison is the memories that Sethe holds become her past, shape her in the present and mold what she will become in the future. The choices we make for ourselves not only determine our lives but also impact the lives of others. If we don't accept our own past then we won't accept who we are right now or who we will be.
Unfortunately the love, pain, and hurt that Sethe endures are shown in the memories of her past. After choosing to run from slavery, Sethe faces a challenge when the white men come for her and her children. Is it better to let the men take your own, knowing the outcome is death, or taking it upon yourself as the mother to perform the inevitable? With a love so thick, Sethe "Ã¢ÂÂ¦took and put [her] babies where they'd be safe" (164).
Realizing that Halle may never show, Sethe followed through with the plan of her escape and sent her children off before her. While waiting a little while longer for Halle to show in the barn, men came and, "They held [her] down and took [her milk]" (16). She is pregnant with a child, and is desperate to get to her born and nursing baby. The men knowing her ordeal steal what she builds to give, while she cowers in pain and relishes in anger. What makes it worse is she finds out from Paul D that, "[Halle] was there" (68) and that, "He saw"(68). Sethe doesn't accept the fact that Halle was in the loft of the barn, watching the theft of her milk, allowing the men to touch and beat her, and not coming to help, and is hurt by it. You live and learn and persist, Sethe lives and "survives" her past.
Dealing with memories, yet not fully accepting them, Sethe creates visions that she believes are reality. When Baby Suggs' freedom was bought, she begins to sit on a rock in the Clearing (a field near the two-story house of 124) and religiously cleanses the misdemeanors of others. Sethe visits the Clearing and envisions the fingers of Baby Suggs that she has long since craved. Believing that she is being massaged she ends up, "Tumbling forward from her seat on the rock, - [clawing] at the hands that were not there" (96). Incidentally bruises are forming around her neck. It never really happens. Heading for the carnival Sethe notices, "They were not holding hands, but their shadows were" (47). What she sees in the shadow is only a vision that she longs to turn into reality, an illusion of a family. Walking home from the carnival Sethe, Denver and Paul D look toward 124 and, "Ã¢ÂÂ¦all they saw was a black dress, two unlaced shoes below it" (51). The black dress is a girlÃ¢ÂÂ¦taking her inside and giving her water and a place to rest, "Ã¢ÂÂ¦Sethe saw that her feet were like her hands, soft and new" (52). Her name is Beloved; coincidentally on the headstone of Sethe's buried baby girl, it's engraved 'Beloved', and when Sethe's baby died, her hands and feet were young, "soft and new". In Denver's room she asks Beloved, "What did you come back for" (75)? By asking her why she came back must mean that she has been here before. Beloved is only Sethe's vision of her child's spirit, and what she believes she needs to move forward in life. Focusing on everything that she has gone through during her past, Sethe brings herself to believe what she feels, what she sees, and not realizing that her reality is not real.
You live your life day by day, making choices as you live. You need to realize that what you decide is who you are as a person at the time. And what you do decide is what you believed to have been the best decision. Even if in the future there was a better choice that you could have made, you need to accept that choice and learn from it. By being so pessimistic all the time, you won't acknowledge the right things and you won't enjoy the life that you could have. Memories create your past, frame you in the present, and build your future. Memories are what we live withÃ¢ÂÂ¦forever.