Toni Morrison has created many characters with different points of views; the bad and/or good side of Sethe. Shows a mother's love towards her children, and how they would learn from her mistakes. The job of a mother is hard to handle, but it is a way to show how their children will end up. In this paper I will analyze the good and bad side of Sethe as the role of a mother. Though as the role of becoming a mother is hard work, Sethe wants to find a way to take care of her children.
Sethe, an independent mother who runs away from Sweet Home, a slave plantation to escape the pain of slavery, tries to cope with her past and gets haunted by her reincarnated daughter, Beloved. In her escape, Sethe kills her children and succeeds on killing her baby daughter. Sethe was trying to save her milk for her children while she was with Baby Suggs. “ I was pregnant with Denver but I had milk for my baby girl. I hadn't stopped nursing her when I sent her on ahead with howard and Buglar... All I knew I had to get my milk to my baby girl...
The milk would be there and I would be there with it. ” (19) Sethe, harassed and raped by schoolteacher's nephews while she was pregnant with Denver steals and drinks Sethes' per-nurtured milk from her breast in her aching torture. Paul D. catches a glimpse of Sethes back and find out her scars. Sethe then responds, “ They used cowhide on you? And they took my milk. They beat you and you was pregnant and they took my milk! ” (20) As a mother, Sethe cares more about her children than herself, which shows how a mother should play her role.
Sethe showed Paul D. how much she cares about her children, by sacraficing herself for her children. Sethe escaped her freedom; however, but tries to struggle her suffering past. Sethe shows Denver, one of Sethes' youngest daughter who changed dramatically throughout her life, from a naive little girl to an independent sociable women, a good role model in the past. Having the advantage of her freedom, Sethe had more time to nurture Denver and her her make a difference with her life. “ I'm proud of her. She turning out fine. Fine. (313) Denver becomes more independent in her own way changing her life around and making her decision about college. “ Miss Bodwin taiught her stuff. He asked her what stuff and she laughed and said book stuff. She say I might go to Oberlin. She's experimenting on me. ” (314) Before Beloved stepped into the picture, Denver was Sethes' main priority. Sethe did not want Denver to go through the same traumactic past as she did. Sethe wanted Denver to leave 124, and see through the world wonders on a regular persons life as from a slave stuck at home, having to learn for herself.
Denver realizes she needed to branch out and be on her own, while helping her mother and showing how much she learned from her experience. Sethe showed how she is a good mother by having her daughter learn that staying at home won't give her knowledge if she wants to succeed in life. A mother who is seen hurting her child physically is categorized as a bad mother. Being a mother means that you are supposed to care for and provide your children both emotionally and physically. Sethe was not the best role model, but she wants what was best for her children.
She kills one of her children in a way so her children would not end up as slaves, as she did. “But now she'd gone wild, due to the mishandling of the nephew who'd overbeat her and made her cut and run. ” (176) Though her heart was in the right place, killing does not solidify the barricade of future generation slaves. “Inside two boys bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a nigger-women holding a blood-soaked child to her chest with one hand and an infant by the heels in the other. She did not look at them; she simply swung the baby toward the wall planks, missed and tried to connect a second time. (175) This is not the definition of how a mother should nurture her baby. A mother should love and always take care of her children by all means. Even though Sethe saw the schoolteacher and his nephews torture her baby, she did not stop. She did not humiliated her herself as a bad mother, but her baby was humilated also. Having to see a mother kill her own child in front of her children is horrifying, in Sethes' mind killing was the decision she wanted to do. A women who takes care of her children would always want to be a role model for their children. Sethe stayed home most of the time and became weak.
She layed in bed after Denver left 124, showing an uncanny role of a bad mother. A child would want a mother who is strong and happy, but Sethe did not end up becoming stronger. Sethe have worked her spot on becoming a good mother, which she has done. Thinking about her children first and seeing them succeed on their goals is another. Killing represented a challenge she faced, but kept on movie with an emotional ride. Toni Morrison showed how a character can have two different identity in one story. Based on my discussion, I would say Sethe is a bad mother.