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Toni Morrisons, Beloved, is a complex narrative about the love between mothers and daughters, and the agony of guilt. It is the ultimate gesture of a loving mother. It isthe outrageous claim of a slave. These are the words, of Toni Morrison, used to describethe actions of Sethe, the central character in the novel. She, a former slave, chooses to killher baby girl rather then let her live a life in slavery. In preventing her from the physicaland emotional horrors of slavery, Sethe has put herself in to a realm of physical andemotional pain: guilt. And in understanding her guilt we can start to conceive hermotivations for killing her third nameless child. Did Beloveds death come out of love orselfish pride? In preventing her child from going into slavery, Sethe, too, protected herself,she prevented herself from re-entering captivity. In examining Sethes character we cansee that her motivations derive from her deep love towards her children, and from the lackof love for herself. Sethes children are her only good quality. Her children are a part ofher and in killing one she kills a part of herself. What hinders over Sethe is her refusal toaccept responsibility for her babys death. Does she do this because she is selfishness orbecause it need not be justified? Sethes love is clearly displayed by sparing her daughterfrom a horrific life, yet, Sethe refuses to acknowledge that her show of compassion is alsomurder. Throughout the work, seems to have two separate identities, which affect heractions. When reunited with Paul D., Sethe recalls her reactions to School Teachersarrival with no mention to her daughters death. Oh, no. I wasnt going back there[Sweet Home]. I went to jail instead (42) Sethe believes she made a moral stand in notletting herself be taken into custody. In her statement she has done two things, she hasdisassociated herself from the act, and also morally justified what had happened. WhenPaul D, upon finding out what ...

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