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.