Examples Of Memory In Beloved By Frank Mcqueen

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In 12 Years a Slave, “the veil that most concerns McQueen is not the one involving the interior life of Solomon Northup; rather McQueen’s real focus is on the interior life of enslaved women” (Li). This majorly ties in with the idea of gender and sexuality aspect of neo-slave narratives. In the opening scene of 12 Years a Slave, there is a nighttime encounter between Solomon Northup and an unnamed female slave who lies beside him. She guides his hand between her legs and in a very wordless exchange he brings her to orgasm. After this encounter, the woman turns away and begins to cry. On this scene, the director Steve McQueen says: “Slaves are working all day. Their lives are owned, but those moments, they have to themselves. I wanted a bit…show more content…
Re-memory is defined as “the process of remembering and what is being remembered” (Smith). The concept of re-memory arises in Beloved to make an emphasis on the legacy of slavery. Re-memory is an important part of Sethe’s present because it captures the emotional and mental scars that Sethe and other characters in the novel endure because of slavery. Time after time the characters in Beloved engage in an internal battle with their memories. In a way, they all choose to focus on the good memories and block out the bad memories. Paul D, for example, has “shut down a generous portion of his head” so that he can block out the memories of Halle and Sixo (49). Paul D in the novel says, “he asked for no more, for more required him to dwell on Halle’s face and Sixo laughing” (49). If he dwelt on the memories, he would go crazy so he just blocked them out. Sethe also chooses to block out these memories and we see this in the text when “She had to do something with her hands because she was remembering something she had forgotten she knew.” Sethe is a character in Beloved whose re-memories are so strong and vibrant that they almost become a reality in their own right. The ghost of Beloved has forgotten her entire past, so Sethe’s reaction when she finally comes to view Beloved as her daughter is particularly interesting. Sethe was “excited to giddiness…show more content…
Throughout Beloved, the characters, especially Sethe and Paul D try to avoid the past but in the end they must come to grips with these horrible experiences, accept them, and recognize their memories in their consciousness. The memories of the past dealing with the characters in Beloved are associated through re-memories that have been repressed due to the pain of reality and coming to terms with the pain associated with the past. Different things can trigger a rememory, such as a sight, sound, or touch of a place or event. These images and re-memories can be brought back to a character to heal the suffering brought on by these past memories. The author of Beloved, Toni Morrison, has a concept of memory and rememory and it is mainly defined through her transitions between the past and the present throughout the text. These transitions are mainly brought on by suppressions of the characters’ memory. Before Paul D visited 124, Sethe had suppressed her re-memories and chose to block memories and past situations that she knew she could not keep hidden. The characters in Beloved cannot directly address the issue of their past because it hurts too much. They avoid their past of slavery because “if you go there and stand in the place where it was, it will happen again” (44). Beloved comes back to haunt Sethe because of her past, but Sethe does not wish for Beloved to

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