Wednesday, February 23, 2011


In Toni Morrison’s Beloved the character’s identity is defined by ownership. “Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another” (111-112). Sethe was a slave and had trouble adjusting to being free, like most slaves. She claimed herself once she was finally reunited with her children after escaping from “Sweet Home”. When she killed Beloved to protect her in an attempt to protect her children from the men without skin Sethe lost her freedom. This act trapped her and controlled her. She lost all ownership as seen by the ghost that haunts 124 and its residents. It is not until the end when Beloved finally leaves and Paul D comes back and says to Sethe, “You your best thing, Sethe. You are” (322), that she is freed. Sethe couldn’t be who she was without freeing herself and claiming ownership of herself and really have an identity until she accepted the past and moved on to look for the future.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Stranger

The Stranger by Albert Camus is a story about a man “who does not weep at his mother’s funeral and runs the risk of being sentenced to death.” Meursault lives in a society where he is seen as an outcast for not showing the “expected” emotions to situations in life. He doesn’t cry at the funeral for his mother, and even goes to the beach the day after with a woman. Marie the woman who Meursault appears to be seeing even asks him if he loves her and replies it doesn’t really matter. Society is not okay with the lack of emotions Meursault shows even if he is only being honest. Meursault is put on trial for killing an Arab, which really turns into a trial about the kind of person Meursault is, one who doesn’t cry at his mother’s own funeral. Meursault makes the comment about the priest and his beliefs, while he was being questioned by the priest.  Meursault thinks to himself, “That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless.”  Meursault knows that one’s identity should not be based on the emotions and actions of a person, but should be based on their beliefs. When one has strong beliefs then there actions and emotions in life’s situations usually follow suit. Meursault didn’t have strong beliefs; you could easily tell this from all the times he said it really didn’t matter, so it would make since that he wouldn’t show emotions. One’s identity is defined by one’s beliefs and without them we find we are meaningless.