In the Novel Beloved, by Toni Morrison unmasks the horrors of slavery, anddepicts its aftermath on African Americans. The story is perfect for all who didnot experience nor could imagine how it was to be an African American in Americacirca the 1860’s. Beloved lends a gateway to understanding the trials andtribulations of the modern African American. The Novel has many things thatoccur that are very striking, most of which have to deal with the treatment ofthe African Americans. The book as a whole is very disturbing, and even shows towhat lengths African Americans were willing to go to avoid enslavement ofthemselves or their children.In the novel the most extreme case of someone avoiding enslavement comes fromthe main character when she attempts to kill her children.
The main character ,Sethe, is not willing to let her children end up re-enslaved and would rathersee them dead and in Heaven then in an earthly hell of being slaves. I believethat from Sethe was justified in her actions. Slavery is a very harsh andhorrible way to live, and living in chains and without freedom is not living asa human should. Slavery degraded African Americans from humans, to that ofanimals. They were not treated with any respect, or proper care. Even modern daycriminals, those that have murdered large numbers of people are treated morehumanly then the average slave ever was. The life that the children would oflived would of been one of complete servitude, they would of never of known whatit was like to live on their own and make their own decisions. This all goesback to the fact that they would never be human or treated as humans, so basedon this I believe that Sethe was justified in killing her children andpreventing them from becoming enslaved.
The fact that the slaves where treated like animals, and where traded and soldlike cattle is well depicted in the book. This did not actually shock me, theitems in the book that shocked me had to do with the living conditions, andpunishments that the men where put through. What I am referring to in particularare the living conditions at the work camp in Georgia. The fact that the menwere in little cubbie holes in a trench in the ground is very disturbing. Thefact that when it rained “They squatted in muddy water, slept above it, peed init(110)” was very shocking and unpleasant to me. The other thing that was reallydisturbing at the same camp was the “breakfast”.
This was disgusting and at thesame time seemed very weird. The white men considered the African Americans tobe animals, yet they still made them perform oral sex on them. This was quitepossibly the most bothersome and abhorrent item that occurred to the slaves inthe book.The treatment of the slaves has a lot to do with current African Americans andthe many items they face. In the book, there is no such thing as a family, theslaves can not be married nor are they allowed to be “mothers” or “fathers” totheir children.
This carries over to modern America in that some AfricanAmericans still have problems with family structure and slavery can be heldaccountable for this. Another reason this book is helpful is that it explainswhy African Americans attempt to remove themselves from making close bonds withfamily, as Professor Jordan said they have to make fun of moms and learn thatthey can not protect the people they love from others. This goes back to theroots of slavery to the fact that families where split up and the slaves had notcontrol, and thus could not protect the ones that they loved. To preventthemselves from being hurt by this they learned a way to form a protectivebarrier against it and that barrier is not to get close or expect to be able toprotect the ones you love.
The book Beloved, has many key points about slavery and brings to light manythings that are not well known. The book helps to show the roots of AfricanAmericans and how those roots still affect their lives today. This helps thereader to better understand African Americans and how they relate to their past.It also brings to light the many cruelties inherent in slavery and the affectthis had on an entire race of people and their development in the U.S.