Passage for Essay #2

The passage i chose for my essay is on page .

“Mr.Garner was dead and his wife had a lump in her neck the size of a sweet potato and unable to speak to anyone. She leaned as close to the fire as her pregnant belly allowed and told him, Paul D, the last of the Sweet Home men. There had been six of them who belonged to the farm, Sethe the only female. Mrs.Garner, crying like a baby, had sold his brother to pay off the debts that surfaced the minute she was widowed. Then Schoolteacher arrived to put things in order. But what he did broke three more Sweet Home men and punched the glittering iron out of Sethe’s eyes, leaving two open wells that did not reflect firelight.”

Why would Morrison tell this story?

I think the Toni Morrison wrote this story to show us the realism of what slavery was like for the African Americans before their freedom. The writer uses examples of the pain these characters she created had to go through out their lives. Their lives were always difficult, they were oppressed because they were back, they had no freedom to be themselves, their identities were taken away.  “Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was, but i wasn’t allowed to be and stay what i was.Even if you cooked him,you’d be cooking a rooster named Mister.But wasn’t no way i’d ever be Paul D again, living or dead.Schoolteacher changed me. I was something else and that something was less than a chicken sitting in the sun on a tub”. (pg.86) Like Paul D who says that the rooster had the right to be who the animal wanted to be, but he couldn’t. The rooster had a name being it an animal, but Paul D was treated worse than an animal being himself a human with no real name.

Sethe was another character that Toni Morrison used to describe the hardships of many real like slaves. Sethe was raped and tortured, her family was taken away, she had to protect her children from whatever danger came their way, even if it meant killing her children like she killed her baby daughter.There was many other characters being mentioned in the book but she took her time to emphasize  Paul D’s and Sethe’s situations and develop them through-out  the story of Beloved. I think that there were many slaves who’s stories that were told through generations about what they went through and the bravery that they had  might have motivated Toni to write a fiction novel of slaves. I can understand from each character that they showed bravery in every way, when it came to protecting their own and gaining their freedom that was taken away by their ‘masters’.

I think the phrase “It was not a story to pass on” comments on how horrific the story was. No one truly wants to remember and consider a story in which a mother murders her child to save her from slavery and the pain all these characters went through. But by saying it’s “not a story to pass on”, Toni Morrison is saying it’s not a nice, pleasant story, it’s not a story that many people like to hear. The characters wanted to forget their past which also included “beloved” from their memories, they wanted to continue with their lives with out having the haunting in 124.

On Finishing Beloved and other accomplishments

We’ve added an extra day to our plans to keep discussing Beloved. I promised some of the film, and I really hope that we can make time for it tomorrow–though it’s a compromise since we’ll want to spend time discussing the work for Essay 2. Finishing Beloved is a great accomplishment–it’s a difficult, painful text, but one that I hope was rewarding for you to complete. I’m interested to see how you treat the text in your essay and creative projects, and how we can address it in our final discussion on Wednesday.

If you haven’t blogged about Beloved yet (I’m not counting the BHS blogging as blogging about Beloved), or if you want to say more, please post by this evening your response to any of the following questions:

What does it mean to read a story that “was not a story to pass on”?

Why do we read about painful experiences, whether it’s in a character’s experience or a nation’s experience?

Why do you think Toni Morrison would tell this story? What might have motivated her to tell this story, and to then identify it as one that “was not a story to pass on”?

Beloved could be read as the ghost of Sethe’s slain daughter, or as a girl who escaped tortuous enslavement. What does it mean to you as a reader not to know definitively what the answer is?

As always, these posts should be approximately 300 words, use quotations to support your ideas or remind readers of the details you draw on, and should be proofread. As always, the rest of the class should reply with 150-word proofread comments, and as we agreed upon in class, we will not begin our comments with “I agree”–find some other way to connect to the bloggers’ ideas!

I look forward to reading your responses, and to discussing these responses and comments in class on Wednesday.

History Through Art & Words at BHS (My Experience)

During our class visits to the Brooklyn Historical Society I found myself getting more and more enthralled with the amazing atmosphere that the building. When I walked into the building I felt like I had walked through a wormhole and was back in time in the library of a large manor home, expecting a lord of some sort to come in and ask me to leave. On our first day we met Robin Katz who stood out from everyone else in the way she spoke and her apparent display of knowledge. During our three visits we looked at articles pictures and advertisements that ranged in age from over five decades to almost two hundred years old. These primary sources were well preserved and displayed a great deal of information. It was like looking through a window through the fabric of time and seeing things from the point of view of people who lived before my time. One of the first things I saw at the BHS was a map of subway stations in Brooklyn that was over fifty years old. I was surprised to know that a lot of stations are still there today and some are even still in use. During our second and third visits we looked at different articles and advertisements pertaining to slaves. These were tough subjects to view and a lot of the things we looked at made me really angry. However I am glad that I got the chance to see these materials. In doing so I was able to learn and grow as a person and feel really good about the time we live in. I wouldn’t trade my experience there for anything. I also hope that I get the chance to go back and do some self-study research so that I can appreciate the entirety of what the BHS has to offer.

Visting BHS – Group 2

The first ad, is from the Long Island Star newspaper, published on January 10th, 1822. The newspaper is from Brooklyn, NY, about an indentured boy between the ages of 11-12 named David Smith. Our first highlight was the description, “Indented colored boy.” We were confused on why they said indented, and later were informed that it might have been a slang term for “indentured.” The ad also made us wonder a lot on why it was posted in the first place. The Master doesn’t want the boy, and as a group, we came to an agreement that the only reason that he posted up the ad in the first place is the fact that the boy was not a slave, and was an indenture, a servant with a contract that will expire after a certain amount of years and will later be free, he might be responsible for any negative actions that David Smith did while he ran away. He was described as a “great rogue,” and that the master tried to give the papers to the boy’s father but he refused to accept them. That also raised the question, since the boy’s father is colored as well, is he free or not? and will that affect the outcome on the privilage of accepting those papers.

The second article we got was an ad from Louisiana Slave Pamphlet, from 1835. It was about a runaway, Henry, which was about 18 years old, and was described as “middle sized, swelled cheeks, silky locks, black skin, well built, and speaks English and French.” Last seen on April 27th, carrying a basket of vegetables at the market. And it was supposed that he had fled on a steam boat. There was a $100 reward on whomever found and returned him. We noticed this ad was a bit different from the first one because this one had an icon, had a reward and the boy was described in a lot more detail than the David was.

In the ad, the boy resembles the lost song (either Buglar or Howards) of Sethe in the novel “Beloved.” Because in the ad, it says a rogue boy weas lurking in Brooklyn and owner couldn’t handle him.
In “Runaway Slaves,” Louisvilla Journal has published about a runaway slaves profile detail that says, he might go to Nashville where his mother lives as a free person.

Comparing to the novel “Beloved” and “Runaway Slaves,” the mother mentioned in Runaway slaves resembles Baby Suggs and her son Halle. Because in the novel “Beloved” Halle was out of the seen most of the time and he really takes care of his mother. He may be sold and reached Alabama but scaped. In “Runaway Slaves” the newspaper ad mentioned that a man named Jim or Armstead ran away with a horse, probably he will run to his mother where his many acquintance lived.

Group Project Runaway Slave BHS (Brian, Danny, Simone and Nicole)

In the first slave advertisement it is a reward of $20 to find the slave named Joe. They give a brief description of his outer appearance saying how tall he is (5’4), well-built and that he has no beard. He is also 20 years old. Also they mentioned that he has a scar on his face in order for others to recognize him. The article warns captains to not harbor this slave and if spotted to report it.

In the second slave advertisement it’s not a reward but a captured slave. This slave was arrested for calling himself Caesar and said that he belongs to Colonel Grem of Fort Hudson. In the advisement they said that he is being held in the jail of the Parisher St James. He is 35 years old and lost his right leg and the end of his left foot.

These slave advertisements compared to the Franklin/Schweninger “runaway slave profile” are brief and to the point. Although I found it interesting in the first document because the slave named Joe was 20 years old and according to the runaway slave profile, teens and early twenties was the common age for men to run away. They also mentioned his “built” and height which in the runaway slave was common for owners to state that. In the runaway slave profile they said that slaves were identifiable by marks or scars and in document 1 you can see that when they mentioned Joe having a scar on his face. It also mentions about missing limbs although in document 2 doesn’t mention how he lost his leg but it could be from an accident or disease that caused him to lose his leg according to the runaway slave profile. They never mentioned any of the slaves skin color in the advertisements or what their clothing may look like and that was also two of the things that were part of the profile of a runaway.  (Nicole Romano)


Danny: Bullet Point 3&5

3. When looking at the different documents we came upon an old news article that was reward amount for the slave that escaped and if found the reward on top was the payment for finding them. The wanted news article described the runaway slaves to be between 2035 years of age, both black and male, one was Joe and he had a scar on his face, no beard, well built, and was around 5 feet four inches tall. The article as posted by the state of Louisiana 1835 may 15th. Another article described a man who was jailed for referring himself as Cesar who belong to the colonial green of fort Hudson.  He was 35 years of age and lost his right leg and the end of his left in a big accident that isn’t specified. This article was published may 30th 1835.

5. When reading the “runaway slave profile” Franklin/Schweninger  the story described the runnaway slave to be young men in their teens or twenties and 78% of those were between the ages of 13-29. Rarely was there an older slave runaway but when there was one they were between the ages of 40-50. Most were described as having dark skin, not so well built, and height varied. But when seen in the newspaper article the two men described were between 20-40, well-built and unlike the ones described in the “runaway slave profile” the ones in the news article were injured in different ways. One had a scar on his face, and the other had no leg/ foot.


Brian: Bullet Point #6

The reality of connecting the acts of the “slaves” in Beloved to the descriptions given in the advertisements and even just connecting it to the actions taken by the “owners” is startling. The thought that these articles represented another human being is one that i still have problems accepting. For example in the case of Sethe she ran away without taking anything to help disguised herself. If her owner had created an ad for her its description would have been spot on until she gave birth and got the coat from the man and his son to carry her newborn child in. In the first advertisement we have an offered reward for the return or capture of a slave and a proclamation that warns ship captains to not harbor the slave whose name was Joe. Comparing these two things a fictitious account of a slave to that of a real advertisement sheds a light onto an issue that should be remembered and teach a new generation about where they were and how far they have come. In Beloved we learn the story of Sethe who has run away and is on the run for quite some time trying to make it to safety. She goes through many trials and tribulations before making it to Baby Suggs house her mother-in-law. This as it pertains to the ads is basically that she had somewhere to go to and someone that could help her when she got there. The people mentioned in these ads probably had no one and would have been on their own after arriving to safety. In retrospect I think both the story and these ads are part of history that should never be forgotten because it is what helps us to realize that we are an advancing people who are better off due to our experiences. I mean better as a collective whole and not just individually.

Simone McPherson

The size of the rewards are very small, they are just ads from the newspapers. The ads include from document 6; a $20.00 reward for a runaway slave named Joe, who doesn’t have a beard but has a scar on the face, about 20 years old, who is also 5’4 and well built. In document 5, describes a man named Caesar who is about 35 years old. He lost his right leg and the end of his left foot. During these times which is rounded to about the time of 1835. The slave owners have given good descriptions of their runaways and it seems like they are a value to them, since they want them back.

Attached are four pictures the first two are advertisements for run-away slaves the third is the citation for all the images and the fourth is a code that was the law for all slaves

“Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”

Through part one Beloved motivates Sethe to tell stories of the ordeals she faced in her past.  All of the memories hold a certain tension when they were brought to the surface.  Reawakening the past is a reoccurring pattern that we’ve come to anticipate as it brings a new element to the story.  Instead of the novel reading in a progressive manner, we are giving blots of images from the characters’ past, however it is our goal to piece them together, similar to the film Memento.

In chapter three, Amy told Sethe “Anything dead coming back to life hurts”, this has been the emphasis of the first part of the story.  From the start of the novel, Paul D was the most reluctant to bring up the memories they all shared, he saw it as a dark cloud looming over them but later changed his perspective.  The characters realized that by recalling their past they are able to deal with the burden, as they say getting the “weight” of their shoulders.  Paul D’s personality depicts him as a typical “man” from the old days; courageous, strong, and willful.   However, when he was punished by the bit that was placed into his mouth, he felt his identity diminish.  He felt like a lesser man, which is one of the reasons why he was so reluctant to speak of his their past.  The slaves often used songs to tell their stories, with Paul D being no exception.  Another reason for the hesitance in the characters speaking up their past was the  control their slave masters had over their speech.  This was evident when Sethe was whipped after reporting her milk stolen.

Sethe’s experiences give us a hint as to why she ended up taking her daugher’s life

No one can conclude if what Sethe did to her baby was the right thing to do or not. However, we can see how Sethe reaches her decision to kill her baby rather than have herself and her children deal with the tragic life of slavery again through her reflections.

When Paul D visited Sethe and the two talked in the kitchen, Sethe told Paul D about the time a “school teacher” and his nephews raped her. She explains to Paul D how they took her milk and beat her with cowhide while she was pregnant and made a “tree” on her back.

In the chapter starting on pg. 28 and also the chapter starting on pg. 74, The recollection of Sethe’s escape and details of her delivery was described through Denver’s mind. Sethe runs away wandering around through the woods while being six months pregnant with “her feet which were so swollen she could not see her arch or feel her ankles.” The delivery of Denver was very hard and the The pain and fear that Sethe faced must have been beyond imagination.

After overcoming these horrible experiences of slavery, she finally started her new life with Baby Suggs and her children. After her escape and overcoming all of the previous experiences she went through, Sethe was very pleased to be able to raise her children on her own.

In my opinion after reading all of Sethe’s recollections and experiences of her slave life and attempted escape, it is kind of understandable to me why she would kill her baby. After experiencing a little amount of freedom and then being caught again and forced back into slavery, she doesn:t want her children going through the same experiences she went through and to be treated like merchandise. At the same time she doesn’t particularly want to kill her own child but in the end that is the decision she chooses.

For Monday’s class, 4/15

On Monday, we’ll be going to the Brooklyn Historical Society. That means that we won’t be in our classroom. Please meet promptly at 11:30 or prior inside the Adams Street entrance to City Tech (near the entrance to the bookstore). We will leave from there and travel the short distance to the Brooklyn Historical Society at 128 Pierrepont Street at Clinton Street. If you’re going directly to BHS, we should be there no later than 11:40.

We’ll be looking at runaway slave advertisements, plus a few other documents. For your reading assignment, you need to finish Part One of Beloved and read as much of the chapter on Runaway Slaves that I distributed in class that you can. If you didn’t get it in class, look for it in our list of readings.

For those of you who are blogging by end-of-day Saturday, you can blog about narration style or memory (the two prior assignments)–but please do not repeat what anyone else blogged about. Also, for the question on memory, please do not blog about something that is a memory in the novel, but about a reflection about memory. We talked briefly about Paul D’s rusted-shut tobacco box in the place where his heart was–that would be a great topic for a blog post!

When we read short stories, we agreed that it was harder to consider characterization than it would be when we would have such rich characters in a novel.  For a new topic, choose one character and a quotation that you think exemplifies the character. How do you learn what you know about the character? What does the passage you’ve chosen tell you about that character, and how? Remember to write at least 300 words, and to choose the category Homework, plus any tags you think are fitting.

Commenters, in your 150 words, remember what you’re not saying? I agree! You’re going to find different ways to communicate your ideas. Maybe you’re going to disagree! Maybe you’re going to fill in something that the blogger didn’t focus on. Maybe you’re going to explain further what the blogger started to describe or address. I’m very excited to see the results!

Questions about Beloved

When Sethe is choked, is it Beloved, or is it the spirit of Baby Suggs? indeterminate

What is the circle of iron? is it a representation of her past? a necklace? noose? chains–shackles?

Why does Sethe go to the Clearing? To connect with Baby Suggs

Why does she feel she needs to connect with Baby Suggs? Because she’s been remembering when she first got to 124 and what Baby Suggs did for her; also for help making sense of what Paul D told her about how Halle saw what happened to her with the schoolteacher and his two boys.

What’s the iron bit situation with Paul D? a punishment that locked his mouth.

What’s the deal with Beloved? who is she? where did she come from? is she the baby ghost?

What’s the purpose of not cleaning the baby’s eyes and waiting for Sethe’s urine? Baby Suggs’s home remedy

How can something horrific keep you from your loved ones?

Who is the narrator? not part of the story–not homodiegetic. third person. jumps to first person who is limited? characters as focalizers, free indirect discourse.

The Anonymous Narrator

The primary narrator in the “Beloved” is unknown for the readers. The narrator is not physically present in the story, but the narrator has access to everything. So I would say the narrator of “Beloved” is anonymous and omniscient. The anonymous narrator has narrated the story in the third person. The anonymous narrator does not only narrate the story but also the story is the collective narration of flashback of the characters. So when the characters express their feelings and look back into their memory, they use the first person.

The narrator has narrated the story with lots of detail information. In other words, the story gives the readers detail picture of everything that is taking place in the story whether it is the conversation between the characters, feelings of the character or the description of a scenario. “Kneeling in the keeping room where she usually went to talk-think it was clear why Baby Suggs was so starved for color. There wasn’t any except for two orange squares in a quilt that made the absence shout. The walls of the room were slate-colored, the floor earth-brown, the wooden dresser the color of itself, curtains white, and the dominating feature, the quilt over an iron cot, was made up of scraps of blue serge, black, brown and gray wool-the full range of the dark and the muted that thrift and modesty allowed.”(Page 38) In the above paragraph from the story, the description of a room is written using very detail information such as the colors, the position, features and so on. Narrating the story in such a detail way makes the readers as if they are the part of the story and the readers are actually witnessing the scenario.

Narration in Beloved

From reading the story “Beloved” it’s hard to understand what kind of narration the story is and somehow difficult to know who is the narrator. From my point of view, I think the story uses a third-person narrator. In the story, the narrator describes the action and thoughts of other people from using “they, he, she”. But sometimes it can considered as omniscient narration because there are some narrations that describe the character’s action and what they thinking. For example the quote from the story “Now Halle’s face between the butter press and the churn swelled larger and larger, crowding her eyes and making her head hurt,” the words “making her head hurt” show us that the narrator describes Halle’s feeling. The narration change from character to character throughout the story trying to lead us to understanding of each character deeper. And the narration switch to lead us to ones character’s memories and thoughts. Another example from page 7, “Again she wished for the baby ghost”, the narrator describes what Denver is thinking.

Changing the point of view in the story can help us understand each character more clearly. Most plots in the story is a flashback of the character’s memories, so it’s quite important for us to understand every character instead of just focusing on one.

Blogging for Wednesday, 4/10, and more!

Everyone knows that we will not be visiting the Brooklyn Historical Society on 4/10 as was initially planned–instead, we’ll be going on 4/15 and 4/22.

For Wednesday’s class, please read the next four sections. In my copy, that ends on page 124. It ends with “She is smiling again.” The next section that we’ll begin with for the next set of readings begins “The last of the Sweet Home men”–we’ll read from there through the end of Part One for Monday’s class, plus some additional reading I’ll provide.

For those of you blogging by Tuesday at 5:00 so the rest of us can comment by 10:00am Wednesday, you have a few choices. You can blog about a topic of your own choosing, or you can blog about memory–but only if the passage you’re writing about is from our most recent section of reading–or you can use this new topic. We spent so much time thinking about narrators in the first half of our course, but we haven’t spent much time thinking about our narrator in Beloved. Write about the narrator in your blog post by considering a moment in the text when it isn’t clear who the narrator is, or who the focalizer is–remember we discussed what a focalizer is in the beginning of the semester–or when that narrator or focalizer shifts unexpectedly or in an unclear way. Incorporate a passage that exemplifies the issue you’re writing about.

As usual, make sure your post is 300 words and proofread. Comments should be 150 words and also proofread. Also, please post the comment you worked on in class today–that’s in addition to the comment you need to post in response to this next round of blogging!


Perfunctory: Adjective : Lacking interest of enthusiasm.

From the novel  “Beloved”,”Together they waged a perfunctory battle against the outrageous behavior of that place; against turned-over slop jars, smacks on the behind, gusts of sour air”.(Page 4)

Now i understand that they have given up on taking care of the place.

The Significance of Memory in “Beloved”

“She had good hands, she said. The whitegirl, she said, had thin little
arms but good hands. She saw that right away, she said. Hair enough for five
heads and good hands, she said. I guess the hands made her think she could do
it: get us both across the river. But the mouth was what kept her from being
scared. She said there ain’t nothing to go by with whitepeople. You don’t know
how they’ll jump. Say one thing, do another. But if you looked at the mouth
sometimes you could tell by that. She said this girl talked a storm, but there
wasn’t no meanness around her mouth. She took Ma’am to that lean-to and rubbed
her feet for her, so that was one thing.
And Ma’am believed she wasn’t going to turn her over. You could get money
if you turned a runaway over, and she wasn’t sure this girl Amy didn’t need
money more than anything, especially since all she talked about was getting
hold of some velvet.” (Morrison, 77)

In this passage of “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, we read about a memory of Sethe’s past when she was running away, six months pregnant with her daughter Denver, and she encounters a little white girl in the hills, who helps her along her path, and also helps her deliver her baby. Taking into consideration the time period in which the novel is written, during the years of slavery-and afterwards- we get a sense of what kind of character the little white girl Amy is. It says here that during that time period, anyone who turned in a runaway slave could get money for it, but Sethe did not believe that Amy was going to turn her in. Even though the little girl was of white lineage, she had knowledge of what a negroe slave was, and knew that someone was looking for her, she still did not turn her in or made the effort to belittle the African women that she found in the hills, badly hurt and pregnant. Instead, she took the time to make her as comfortable as she possibly could, and cured her of her illnesses.
“She said the girl talked like a storm, but there wasn’t no meanness around her mouth,” were the words of Sethe. From this quote I got the understanding that Amy, although having knowledge of what slaves where, was still a bond person and had the courage to help another in need. If it may have been another white person that would have found Sethe in the hills, they most likely would have turned her in to receive a monetary reward for it.
From this passage specifically, although we don’t receive much information about what live as a slave was, we can interpret from “Beloved” that it was not an easy task for the slaves to run away. There were many hardships that made running away very difficult. We can also interpret that there were still people with kind hearts like Amy, which without receiving nothing in return, still helped a black woman in need. This, like many other memories of her past, was one that Sethe didn’t like to recall because it reminded her of the troubles that she went through as a slave. Throughout what we have read so far in “Beloved,” the reader gets a pretty good insight of Sethe’s memories, that help piece together parts of the story that are scattered around.