Whenever we are reading something in AP English/Humanities I like to look up quotes from the authors to see if I can glean anything from their spoken words and relate it to their written ones. For Toni Morrison and Beloved, I found this quote:
"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game."
To me, this quote stuck out from the rest, in that it both brings up the idea of a community helping itself succeed and that it degrades the focus on individual wants and selfishness. In Beloved, we see this outlook on life many times. We see it in Sethe, who, as a mother, is focused on improving the lives of her children and helping them learn by telling them stories about her past. We see it in Denver, who tries desperately to keep Beloved away from anything that may, in her mind, corrupt the child-like innocence that is presented in Beloved's character, eve if it means keeping her away from what she wants most, Sethe. We even see it in Paul D, sometimes anyway, who feels suspicion and uncomfortableness about Beloved and thinks that she may harm the family he has come to have at 124. The idea of an interconnected relationship between members of a community even relates back to the traditional African ideals that we learned about in Things Fall Apart.
Toni Morrison has many other enlightening and inspiring quotes, I encourage you all to read some of them. Here's a link to a pretty good quote website: