Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The Question: What does it mean to be an outsider or insider and how does it affect our personalities?

In Tony Morrison's Beloved, it's really hard to tell what is considered an outsider. First of all a good number of the main characters are former slaves, making them obvious outsiders. Sethe, Paul D and Baby Suggs all had roots in slavery...thus living in a free society made them targets of hate. Sadly enough Sethe made herself even more of an outsider when she killed her baby girl, the already crawling one that we never get the true name of. Maybe she doesn't have one or she truly is just Beloved, as her tombstone reads. Her crime separates herself from the black community around her so basically she ends up with nothing. Which makes her a strong character but also very vulnerable because the only ideas she has to go off of are her own and no one is perfect.

Whose next in the list of odd characters...How about Denver. Sethe's daughter, the one she didn't murder, obviously. She is a very bizarre girl. She is eighteen years old yet she acts so much younger than that. She never leaves 124 or it's yard without her mother. Obviously, lonely she never got the attention needed for a growing girl and so she just didn't grow emotionally. The only friend she has is the ghost of the house. The ghost of her older sister, Beloved. So she's a sad lonely girl that talks to ghosts...weird.

Then comes in Paul D. He knew Sethe from their time of slavery together at Sweet Home. He has wandered most of his life and escaped from repression in a few different places. He is pretty damaged and doesn't seem capable of love or even able to live anymore. Both he and Sethe are continuously haunted by their past. Sethe's more literal than his of course. However, he does end up sending the ghost out of 124...But she only comes back in real form

Perfect segway to Beloved...The crazy ghost being. She shows up on their doorstep basically out of the blue one day. Of course, Sethe at first doesn't recognize her as her lost daughter but Denver does automatically. They become fast friends but Beloved makes it quite clear that she is only there for Sethe. Over time Beloved breaks down Sethe so that she loses her job, eats all the food and almost turns Sethe into the ghost. She ends up being a shell of her former strong self. Luckily Denver is able to break away from this unhealthy life and saves herself. She is able to leave the house by herself and get the help her mother needs but is too stubborn to ask for herself. All of the towns woman come together to sing to Beloved and pray for Sethe's deliverance from this ghost that has come back to haunt her. Beloved is driven from the home but Sethe is never the same. She is a broken woman, who lies in bed and believes she has lost the best thing from her life.

So in conclusion, everyone in this book is an outsider. Paul D and Sethe are originally outsiders because they were former slaves. But Sethe makes her lot worse when she kills her daughter and allows that same child to break her spirit later in life. Denver starts out as a shy timid girl who is afraid of her own shadow but grows up into a well adjusted young woman...and lastly Beloved. What is there to say about her, she will never be in insider because she is nothing but a ghostly shell filled with nothing but evil and the soul of her broken mother.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Stranger

The Question: What does it mean to be an outsider or insider and how does it affect our personalities?

Monsieur Meursault is one of the most bizarre characters ever created not to mention a total and complete outsider. The book begins with the funeral of his mother where he shows absolutely no emotion. He even expresses annoyance with the other mourners. When asked he cannot even give the age of his now dead mother. Weird. Upon returning home he goes to the beach and frolics with a rather loose woman, Marie. Even she, I suppose at this point his girlfriend, didn't know his mother was totally in the ground.

He then starts to explain Mr. Salamano and his abused dog. Then his other neighbor Raymond, the pimp and woman beater. Meursault never puts any emotion into his words; he simply says it how it is. The story never has any emotion...ever. It is a very odd way to read a story and receive no background information or incite into anything at all.

Fast forward to Meursault shooting the Arab. What the heck is he even doing? Why did he go back? Did he even know what he was doing? Who cares...he is indifferent towards everything. He marches through life with his head down knowing the only place he ever will be heading is death.

His trial is a total personal attack on him. No one actually ever cared that he killed the arab, its the fact that he is so strange that lead to the trial. The fact that he didn't grieve for his mother is the main topic of the entire trial. He also felt no remorse for his crime or ever made an appeal to a higher power. His lack of religion seemed to freak everyone out. Because he was so totally "without" a soul he was condemned to death. No one gave a damn about the Arab he murdered but he didn't fit in with societies norm so he had to be dealt with.