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.

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