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

Sethe feels that she needs to go to the clearing where Baby Suggs is going to preach. Baby Suggs does not give a preach but tells black individuals to be themselves to love, dance, smile and to love their bodies. Sethes decides to go there to show appreciation to Halle but also she feels as she has to find common interests with Baby Suggs spirits. It then comes to her mind that Baby suggs passed away in anguish, sorrow and poisoned by the whites without any hope for the future. When Amy had departed and Sethe was by herself, she walked until she discovered a black man with two young boys. The black man was Stamp paid who gave her material goods such as eel and and a coat so she can carry her young one. He had left her at a station by herself, where a woman named Ella had come to pick her up from the station. Ella bought Sethe to Baby Suggs. Baby Suggs gave Sethe a bath. Slowly Sethe began her life as a free woman. Sethe had finally seen her third child since she sent her with the railroad. Sethe was very happy that she was free now as a slave she felt as if it was still a dream. When Sethe was at the clearing with Denver and Beloved, Sethe tries to feel Baby Suggs existence. Sethe has all these imaginary thoughts and feelings about Baby Suggs. Sethe also decides she wants Paul D back in her life.


Meaning of Memory: based on Beloved

The definition of memory is the store of things learned and retained from an organism’s activity or experience as evidenced by modification of structure or behavior or by recall and recognition . Through out reading Beloved by Toni Morrison, memory has a meaning of negativity and sense of remorse. The beginning on the story starts off with the recap of Sethe’s family history. For example, Baby Sugg’s death and Beloved’s death. In page 4 of the book, the narrator describes her life as “intorable [..] since she knew death was anything for forgetfulness […].” Sethe and her daughter, Denver, kept bringing up the fact that they felt a haunting presence in the house that they were living in. When Paul D came back for a visit, after 18 years, they tell him about the haunted vibes, and say, “It’s not evil, just sad. Come on. Just step through.” While reading that, I had a feeling that they had a deep pain in them that they can’t let go of. They feel a presence but they aren’t afraid, but they also aren’t ready to approach it because it would open up memories of things that they aren’t ready to cope with. Just like Paul D began to tell Sethe about Mister. He explains to her that he felt like he was less than an animal: simply not human. Paul D told Sethe that, “Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was. But [he] wasn’t allowed to be and stay what [he] was.” He doesn’t want to relive the past.  Another example is when Beloved comes back into the house later on in the book, Denver is the only one who seems to notice who it is during their talk and it’s a dark conversation, and the only light memory comes afterwards when she asks Denver about the story of her birth. I personally think that the fact that they had such a rough past and the negativity and rejection colored people had gotten affected them from thinking positive over negative. Memory, based on this book, is defined by your past and how you were effected by it.

The BHS Experience.

Our recent visit to the Brooklyn Historical society was very beneficial to my understanding of my hometown and also of our reading of “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn.” I had no knowledge of the Brooklyn Historical society prior to this class and once I heard about this trip I was looking forward to it. I can now say that I enjoyed the trip, not just because we got to leave the classroom but I found everything about the BHS so interesting and inspiring. I loved the architecture, and the mood of the building. It isn’t like a mundane public library. The resources are rare and precious and the BHS is very cautious about how their resources are shared with the public.

Being there was also constructive because we were able to have a hands-on experience with the materials. The group I worked with had a display of two maps of Brooklyn. One map was a railroad map and the other was a transit map. We also had folders that contained photographs of scenes in Brooklyn in much earlier times. I particularly studied a photo that showed the beach at Coney Island from the summer of 1958. I, along with one of the BHS hosts had noticed that many of these beach-goers were fully dressed in the summer time. I thought that this could be attributed to the different culture at the time and maybe people were more reserved in the way they dressed, even at the sunny beach.

Our study of the maps went along very well with our reading of “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn.” In the story “the big guy” claimed to use a map to find his way around Brooklyn. He found he’s way to Bensonhurst, Flatbush, and Red Hook. I found this interesting because these neighborhoods are not exactly very close to each other, and I mentally made a comparison to the time this story took place (it was published in 1935) and today and how maps are hardly used. Every now and then I’ll see a subway passenger squinting at a map, but technology has advanced and nowadays many people use GPS or search for directions online. One can make the argument that technology has made us lazy in this regard because reading a map successfully requires extra effort.

One thing I must point out, however, is that I could not locate Red Hook on the transit map I studied. I just could not find it, but I was indeed able to find “Bensenhoist.” Brooklyn is a very big and deep borough, and I agree that one may never able to to know Brooklyn through and through.

The Cottagette by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The “Cottagette” portrays what female roles were like during the 1900’s, for example when Malda expresses her rational thoughts about Ford Mathews, Lois States “What they care for most after all is domesticity. Of Course they’ll fall in love with anything; but what they want to marry is a homemaker.”  This statement is eye opening for Malda because through out the story we can distinguish how Malda is trying very hard  to cook and be a homemaker, it amuses me how a women was comfortable with settling to simply be a homemaker. Gilman shows the stereotypical concept that the role of a women in marriage is to be a homemaker. She explains it is not the only thing women are adequate at but women are also resourceful. Ford Matthews states in the story “it is not true, always, my dear, that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” This acknowledgement displays that it doesn’t always have to be “bread and butter” to fulfill a guys needs. Later on in the story we come to realize that Ford Matthews doesn’t just want Malda to be a homemaker, he inspires Malda to do what shes good at and she confesses it. She states “i dont want to cook–i want to draw.” Ford asked Malda to marry him but he had a condition which was, Malda had to give up cooking and continue to do what she loves to do which is draw as he would take on the role of cooking which shows true love and equality in a marriage.

The Story of an Hour

Gender roldes have changed drastically throughout the decades.  Females have gained a lot more freedom: voting and the right to get paid as equal as a male.  Freedom is something that cannot or should not be bought, but not many have.  There are other wats to escape from what our world’s reality is.  Every individual has their own point of view on whether something, in fact, is a type of freedom or liberty.

In Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Story of and Hour,” Mrs. Mallard, who suffers from a heart condition, finds out that her husband was killed in an accident.  “It was [her husband’s friend Richards] who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of ‘killed,'” (Chopin para…2).  When Mrs. Malllard first received the news of her  husband’s passing, she was in shock, but after it had all sunk in, it was hinted, at the reader, that she was actually happy because she had had a miserable marriage.

Death was an escape for her through out the story once she was informed about her husband.  “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window,” (Chopin para…6).  The feeling of having the advantage to start a new life was starting to settle in, creating a positive mind set that allowed her to see the good on such a gloomy day.  The thought of being able to depart from her marriage, allowed her to calm down.  “‘Free!  Body and soul free!'” (Chopin para…14).

Mr. Mallard comes home towards the end of the story, and Mrs. Mallard new beginning was ended within a matter of seconds.  The shift in her emotions were so drastic, that she passed away.  “When the doctors came the said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills” (Chopin para…20).  Death is known as the stage in the circle of life, that you can finally rest.  Mrs. Mallard had escaped marriage for a few minutes, and was stripped from the happiness.  She had mentally prepared herself to start over; seeing her husband enslaved her quickly, which allowed herself to free herself from the world.

Whether it was her or her husband’s time to go, one or the other had to depart in order for freedom take place.