In the book “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, begins in 1873 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sethe the main character, a former slave, has been living with her daughter Denver in a house at 124 Bluestone Road. As you read the book you will soon find it hard to comprehend due to flashbacks, but these flashbacks talks about the events that conspire while Sethe had four children. She made a decision that no mother should have ever go through. She showed lots of courage and love towards her children. I feel that the scene where Sethe tries to kill her kids has the most impact to the story because it shows how a mother loves their children so much the she would go the extreme and suffer, just for their sake. Due to trying to kill her kids it lead to many events that occurred in the book
In this scene where Sethe ran away from “Sweet Home”, she hid in a shed behind a house. She was later found by the four horsemen with help. When she was found, she was trying to kill her children. When Paul D learn what Sethe tried to do from Stamp Paid, he went to her for an explanation. In the story it was written in third person as Sethe’s thoughts, “And if she thought anything, it was No. No. Nono. Nonono. Simple. She just flew. Collected every bit of life she had made, all the parts of her that were precious and fine and beautiful, and carried, pushed, dragged them through the veil, out, away, over there where no one could hurt them. Over there. Outside this place, where they would be safe.”(Morrison 192).In other words Sethe wanted to secure her children’s safety by sending them to the afterlife rather than being taken back to Sweet Home. Sethe said her decision was “simple”, that she would rather send her kids “over there” [afterlife] then to have school teacher take them back to Sweet Home. Sethe identifies her children as ” the parts of hers that were precious and fine and beautiful”, if Sethe let school teacher take them it’s like allowing him to destroy all the “lives” [children] she had given birth too. If Sethe never killed her 9 month old daughter, she would have been taken back to Sweet Home along with her brother and sisters. They would have then grown up as slaves and probably go through the same things that Sethe went through.
Another scene I would like to discuss would be when Sethe’s milk was stolen from her. When Sethe was talking to Paul D, she said “After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk. That’s what they came in there for. Held me down and took it. I told Mrs. Garner on em. She had that lump and couldn’t speak but her eyes rolled out tears. Them boys found out I told on em. Schoolteacher made me one open up my back, and when it closed it made a tree. It grows there still.”
“They used cowhide on you?”
“And they took my milk.”
“They beat you and you was pregnant?”
“And they took my milk!” (Morrison 19-20)
This event shows how angry Sethe was when the boys took her milk. She was furious with them because the milk was for her baby, that without her milk she would not know what will happen to her baby. Sethe was really furious because she repeated “they took my milk”, and the last time she said it there was a exclamation point, so it shows that she was yelling. This event would not have occurred if Sethe killed her child. She would not have gotten her milk stolen by the boys, and she would not have gotten whipped from the schoolteacher. Also Halle wouldn’t have been watching, so then he wouldn’t be traumatized and gone crazy.
The last scene that I want to bring up is in the beginning of the book where the narrator starts off the book by saying “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver were its only victims. The grandmother, Baby Suggs, was dead, and the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old—as soon as merely looking in a mirror shattered it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny hand prints appeared in the cake (that was it for Howard). Neither boy waited to see more; another kettleful of chickpeas smoking in a heap on the floor; soda crackers crumbled and strewn in a line next to the doorsill.” (Morrison 1).This scene talks about how Sweet Home was being haunted by her baby. Where it says Sethe and her daughter were its only victims, which means everyone left and there the only ones that stayed. Buglar ran away right after the mirror shattered right in front of him and Henry left when hand prints appeared in the cake. The both left because they were tired of being haunted by their sister. If Sethe never killed 9 month old daughter, she wouldn’t have been haunting 124 Sweet Home. If she wasn’t haunting the house then Buglar and Henry wouldn’t have ran away. Even Baby Suggs would probably still be alive.
Although other events might change the outcome of the book, Sethe killing her child had the most impact towards the book. If she haven’t gone and killed her child the whole book would have been totally different. Sethe would probably be living together with everyone at Sweet Home and no one would have suffered.