Sunday, February 28, 2010

Beloved #1

"The weight of a tree on my back"

Early in the book, the metaphoric weight of a tree is represented to be sitting on Sethes shoulders. Although the "tree" is just composed of scars that have whelped up on her back from a beating when she was fleeing slavery. Throughout the book, the tree is used as a representation of Sethes past, and the story of Denver's birth. She calls it a Chokecherry tree because Amy said it looked like one when she was nursing her back to health from running away, and then helping her give birth to her child Denver. Sethe's scars are a representation of her past sorrows, and it is ironic that they are compared to a tree; trees represent a new beginning, a new life. Although her scars are a reminder of her past struggles, it also is a reminder of her new beginning as a free mother. Amy nurses the bleeding scars back to heath and presents us with the tree image, as if representing a new life for Sethe and baby Denver. The tree shows the weight of Sethes torture on her life until Paul D comes for a visit. When the two are in the kitchen, Paul D attempts to get close to Sethe by holding her breast and resting his cheek on her "tree." It is then that he realizes her struggles and sees the tree that she has been referring to, which upsets baby Beloved's ghost. After Beloved's ghost shakes the house, Paul D establishes his place in the house and tells the ghost to go away. This itself establishes a new beginning for the two, but the tree forever stays "rooted" to her back. The tree will always represent the painful memories for her and her children.

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