Thursday, March 21, 2013

Seethe's killing of Beloved

In the chapters we read for tonight we learn about Seethe's attempted murder of her two sons and her successful murder of her oldest daughter, Beloved.  I find this to be an interesting turn in the story.  It makes clear Seethe's sons' reasoning for running away from 124.  However, I am curious as to why Beloved keeps returning to 124 to "haunt" the house.  Seethe explains to Paul D that she killed Beloved to protect her children from the horrors of slavery.  Perhaps Beloved comes back because she is dead and knows the truth about why Seethe had to do what she did?  Seethe did not want to hurt her children but felt it was a better choice then slavery.  Seethe's sons did not die and therefore did not see her rationale for trying to kill them.  Denver was too young to remember this and was saved from being killed.  It is very sad that slavery and Seethe's fear of it would drive her to do something like this.  It also ties in to Paul D's quote about how it is dangerous to love someone too much if you are black.

5 comments:

Ian J said...

I think you make a good point, Austin, regarding the reason why Sethe might have killed Beloved. I also think another reason why she might have killed Beloved is because most slave women did not have much control over their children. The women were used for reproduction and once they had their babies they were sent back out into the fields. So I think maybe one of the motive behind Sethe's killing of her child was that yes, like you said, it was to protect her from slavery, but a second reason would be to exhibit some kind of control over her that she was never able to exhibit because of slavery. She wanted to control some aspect of her life, as we all know that slaves had virtually no control over their lives. She might have wanted to prove to herself, those around her, and especially her owners that she could control somethings.

Madeline Davis said...

You bring up an interesting point in the question of why Beloved comes back to Sethe even after she was murdered as a child. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that even though she's technically full-grown, she still has the mentality of a toddler and habits that she had formed before she died. Beloved feels attached to Sethe, waits all day for her to come home, and follows her around, which seems perfectly natural. Beloved died as a toddler and it's normal for a toddler to want to be with their mommy. Beloved didn't know how to be independent, so I think it's fitting that she constantly haunted her mother's house and follows her mother once she is reincarnated as a young adult.

Michell D said...

I would like to take a moment in this post to discuss what I meant by her killing beloved was an accident. I think that she had every intention to kill her kids to keep them from slavery, but she definitely didn't WANT them to die. I think it was a split decision and she would regret it if all her children would have died. She has experienced the true horrors of slavery and thought that death is better than life in that case. But how does she have the right to decide to kill her kids. I personally would want to decide on my own, but I am much older than the kids at that time so that's a bad example. But if Sethe knew how much worse slavery was than death, then why didn't she kill herself when she was enslaved?

Ben Bonner said...

I agree that Sethe's killing of Beloved was primarily an act of love. However, I think it is also somewhat vindictive. By killing Beloved, Sethe is robbing her owner of his "property." For the owner, the life of a slave in itself doesn't hold any intrinsic value; value comes from the work and profit that can be made from that slave. So in a sense, Sethe is finding retribution in her daughter's death. By killing her daughter, she is asserting herself and denying the owner's control over the life of her child.

Laura N said...

Going off of what mitchell said, I definately think the morality of Sethe's actions are questionable. According to Sethe, killing her children was the right thing to do. she did not want them to suffer as she had. She was protecting them from slavery which was a worse fate than death. But was it her place to deprive her children of life? If they had died, or had been sold into slavery they wouldnt have had much of a life at all anyway. Killing her child in fact saved the rest of the family because the school teacher didnt want them anymore.