Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beloved's Reality

Who is to say what is crazy and what is not? What is right and what is wrong? For Sethe, in Beloved, no one truly can shape her morals and views. She justifies, often correctly, things that others would never even dream of allowing. Her life, her past, for that matter, is so different from others' that her reality and her "true north" is definitely different than the reality others have. The murder of her baby alone allows her a different view to the harsh wonders of life. I can guarantee that you and I know that killing your own child is harsh and usually calls for a crazy person. But, Sethe, who often seems crazy, seems to make a judgment call in that decision- death or life in a worse-than-death situation. You could only imagine how much guilt, how much anger that you would and could harbor because of a life changing situation like that. Let alone having that baby come back and haunt and then it stops suddenly, only to return in the flesh. Essentially, the point that is made with Sethe's reality is that it is flawed because of her past. Many would even argue that because she has such distinct and trying circumstances that her reality has a whole different set of morals and guidelines. After reading many books, I would argue every different reality has its own "rule book." 

Not only does Sethe have a unique reality but most other characters in Beloved have odd realities. Take Beloved herself as an example. Her only reality is that her mother killed her. She has no context, has no real reason as to why she was brutally killed. So therefore, her reality is what she knows and what she knows alone. This reality translates into her seemingly sole belief of taking life from Sethe just like Sethe took life from her. And again, she is able to justify this because in her reality her murder was abrupt and senseless.

In the end, for the characters in Beloved, their realities are what keep them from coming to grips with their pasts. It is what keeps them from riding themselves of the unnecessary guilt they feel because of the past. However, one thing that these characters do that stand out from previous books that I have analyzed is that they seem to overcome their realities, at least for a bit, at the end of the novel. Their subversion of personal reality allows them to help something and someone they long forgot. They realize that regardless of what they say or do, they have no authority over what others believe is right and wrong, good and evil, or what is "true north."