A TREE CAN BE A HEAVY LOAD TO CARRY
Throughout our lives, we have all had our own “tree” carved onto us. Whether it is on our back, in our heart, in our soul, our hands or feet, we can all share the knowledge and pain our lives have borne. So there is an understanding of how and what Sethe has had to bare throughout her life, and every branch of her tree has its individual story to tell. Not only has she been affected by the choices she has had to make, but also everyone who has come in contact with her have been affected. One branch of Sethe’s tree tells of her killing her baby and another tells of the guilt she has felt throughout the years and the near destruction of her from the haunting of her dear “Beloved’s” ghost. Another tells of her boys running away and another tells of the neglect that her younger daughter has had to face.Because of this guilt, she almost paid for it with her life. However, the stages that her mind her took through with coming to terms with her involvement in Beloved’s murder, her redemption of that burden, and near madness were the elements that helped to guide her through the guilt. From the redemption of her guilt, Sethe has learned that when a branch of her tree has weltered a little, which means that her family bond is not as strong, the tree does not die, because it has a strong root. A root that represents all of the sorrow’s of her life, but she is still strong and is willing to fight to get rid of the weltering branches and sprout new ones, which represents new hope, new life and new beginning.
In comparison with Sethe, many of us could probably relate to Sethe and the tragedies and devastations she has had to face. Like her, we and the people around us have had to face death, neglect, uncertainties, self-doubt or inner demons. Sethe explains that she took her baby’s life in order to save her from the treacherous world that she would have greeted. She did not want her baby to grow up in slavery like she had to, or starve because she did not have any milk to feed her. “….and I could not let her nor any of em live under schoolteacher. That was out”(163). But was that really an excuse to use for what she had done by taking her child’s life? Paul D, who was her long-lost friend for eighteen years, disputes her reasoning for killing her child. He states,
The prickly, mean-eyed Sweet Home girl he knew as Halle’s girl was
obedient(like Halle), shy(like Halle) and work-crazy(like Halle). He was
wrong. This here Sethe was new. The ghost in her house did not bother her
for the very same reason a room-and board witch with new shoes was
welcome. This here Sethe talked about love like any other woman; talked
about the baby clothes like any other woman, but what she meant could
cleave the bone. This here Sethe talked about safety with a handsaw. This
here new Sethe didn’t know where the world stopped and she began.
Suddenly he saw what Stamp Paid wanted him to see more important than
what Sethe had done was what she claimed. It scared him”(164).
Paul D was bewildered and outraged by Sethe’s actions towards a child and found it unforgivable. Because she killed her child others deemed her a demon, incapable of love, and her younger daughter began believing that was true. She was deemed insane and others around her felt the devastation of her demise. Denver, who is Sethe’s younger daughter, lived in fear after learning the truth about the horrific actions of her mother. She wondered what would stop her mother from killing her, if killing was so easy for her.
I love my mother but I know she killed one of her own daughters, and
tender as she is with me, I’m scared of her because of it. She missed
killing my brothers and they knew it. They told me die-witch! stories to
show me the way to do