Friday, March 13, 2015

Sethe's choice

Personally, I understand Sethe's choice to commit infanticide (or as close as I can come to understanding it since I truly cannot begin to comprehend the horrors of slavery), yet I take a stance similar to Toni Morrison herself. I cannot support a decision like this simply because it isn't Sethe's choice whether to allow her children to live, ultimately it is their choice of whether to live or not, and she is taking away that choice. We talked about this a little in class, but I wanted to hear everyone's opinions on the matter.

6 comments:

Ross said...

I understand that she based her decision on her experiences as a slave, but personally I cannot I agree with her actions. At the time she was thinking "killing them would be better than slavery" yet there were other options. If she had enough time to gather all four of her children, drag them, not lead them, to a shed, and kill three of the children, she also might have had enough time to simply run away. I get that her intentions were noble but a killing is a killing, no matter what kind of "spin" you put on it.

Sri Korrapati said...

I disagree with both of you. *Throws Shade here*

Ross: This kind of was her only option. You say there were others, but if you think about it, what other way guaranteed her kids from going back into slavery. Slavery is worse than death, ask Sethe. I believe there is a peace associated with death.

Alex: I kind of think Sethe did have the right to her children and making choices for them. These kids are will, kids. They can't make their own decisions. They are minors. They haven't gone through slavery either, so how would they be informed knowledgeably to make the decisions themselves?There was no time for them to develop their brains and rationalize. The obligation falls to the parent, in my opinion.

Bonnie Cash said...

As a black woman against three men on horses, I don't think Sethe would've had time to run away. Plus, running away would have meant resistance, which probably would've lead to beatings from the men chasing her. They could've potentially beaten her AND her children. In addition, the could've taken the children away from her and either killed them or sold them into slavery at such an early age, all because she chose to resist. I think Sethe didn't really have many options as no one informed her they were coming (going back to Stamp Paid wondering why none of their neighbors gave them a heads up). So lets' think about it. You have a child. People are coming after you. There is literally no place to run. All you have are your feet and they have horses. Let's be real. She's going down. So, you can save your children from potential misery, or they are sold into slavery (more misery)I agree with Hari in that there was really no other choice. Perhaps if she had been informed they were coming... MAYBE. But at the time she really could do nothing else. You really can't outrun a horse on foot. So, she thought killing her children was the best way to save them from slavery, which is where she figured they would go. Either slavery or dead. To her, they are both terrible options so she killed them, thinking it would be the best option. No one is allowed to take someone elses life, I mean it just isn't their right. But, in the spur of the moment Sethe thought it was best. It's one of those situations you really can't understand unless you know can fully understand slavery times and the desperate actions of a mother.

Sri Korrapati said...

BTWS alex i was playing devils advocate, obviously these kids have their own right but to sethe she was like nah your MINE

Joe D said...

Considering the horror stories that Sethe had seen and heard about families being separated due to slavery (also referenced in our excerpts of Uncle Tom's Cabin), and the horrors she had thitherto endured, the choice Sethe has to make was obviously very difficult. When I read the title of this post, I though Alex was going to reference the similarity of her choice with Sophie's choice (Sophie had to decide which of her children to send free and which to go to a concentration camp). Both choices require a level of responsibility foreign to humans. Simply put, humans should never have to be put in that position. With the four horsemen breathing down her neck and time not on her side, Sethe makes a decision that I don't know I could make. I don't know how I would react because I'm thinking about it, which is essentially what Sethe did not do: at that moment her own protective instinct (one undoubtedly moulded by the horrors and pitiless environment around her) kicked in. I will never have such an instinct.

Tiffany Tavassoli said...

I think that the quote that Ms. King read in class by Morrison really does explain the situation perfectly. I also Sethe did do it out to keep her child from suffering. Whether her action can be justified or not, I think it is important to consider that the root of her decision was not evil. She meant for it to be the right choice even if the outcome was not right. I think that it is wrong for her to be the judge of whether her child had a life worth living or not, but I do not think the reader should treat this as Sethe acting outrageously. It is important to think about all that Sethe had gone through and to realize how her past experiences traumatized her into a state where she could not think rationally, and her instinct told her to kill her child because that is what she thought would be best.