*THIS PAPER IS FOR REFERENCE AND STUDYING PURPOSEES ONLY! PLEASE DO NOT PLAGARIZE OR COPY THIS PAPER AS IT IS AGAINST THE WISHES OF THE AUTHOR AND THE CODE OF ACADEMIC HONESTY. THANK YOU. Paper on “Beloved” by Toni Morrison A Paradoxical Memory For most people, memories are a precious thing. They provide us with history about our selves and help preserve the ties we hold with others. But in reading Beloved, a novel written by Toni Morrison, I found an interesting paradox in how memories are viewed by the main character, Sethe. In a passage on page 6 and 7, we can see how Sethe is beset by her tragic memories of the Sweet Home plantation, which was a place of great evil that she remembers only for its beauty. And on page 83, Sethe fights against remembering the Sweet Home plantation, the bitter memories make her suffer, but at the same time strengthen her will and character. Both of these aspects seem painful and damaging at first, but they helped Sethe by hardening her against future pain and keeping her sanity intact. Sethe, like most ex slaves at that time, was trying to live a new life, one where she was free and could do as she pleased. But Sethe could never be free of her past, and it often caught up with her when she least expected it. In the first passage (on page 6-7), Sethe is washing chamomile off her legs when she is struck by a vision of the Sweet home Plantation. As much as she hates these recollections of the place where she was a slave, and where milk was stolen right out of her breast, she is always struck by the splendor of that farm. She describes it “rolling itself out before her in shameless beauty,” although “there was not a leaf on that farm that did not make her want to scream” (7). In a way, the way Sethe viewed that farm was the same as how she felt about it. The farm was where she and Halle were married, where the Sweet Home men were all together, and where everything was full of color and beautiful. Compare that to her life at 124 Bluestone Rd; haunted, lonely, scorned by the neighbors and colorless. Which reveals the most damaging aspect of Sethe’s memories; the horrors that befell her at were so terrible that she started to hate herself for remembering Sweet Home for anything good. Sethe hated her memories; she never wished to relive them and despises her mind for storing and replaying them. She compared her mind to a greedy child; always snatching up more and more harmful events which she would just have to painfully relive later. One memory in particular, caused her a great deal of pain. “I am full god damn it,” thought Sethe, “of two boys with mossy teeth, one sucking on my breast the other holding me down, their book reading teacher watching…” (83). But there is one benefit of having these memories, a benefit that may be the reason Sethe has been able to carry on through all her troubles. Reliving those experiences made her accept what had happened, and that made her stronger. Sethe even seems to be immune to losing her sanity because of it, after all “Other people went crazy, why couldn’t she” (83)? It was almost as if Sethe had blocked out those terrible events even as they were happening to her, and her memory let her experience the pain just a little at a time, allowing her to become used to it and eventually gain immunity to its harmful effects. It was like a vaccination; it hurt at first, but would save her life further down the road. It’s easy to see that Sethe never had an easy life, or anything close to one. She didn’t have the luxury of time or money that would allow her to begin a long process of recovery. She had to keep moving, to trudge on without healing the wounds her memories kept unhealed and bleeding. Did her emotions suffer due to her response to her memories? And if it did, was it for the better, or worse? If there was one thing that made Sethe stand out from all the other characters, it was that she had the possibly the most painful memories, and that she was hurt and strengthened by them.