Examples Of Motherhood In Beloved

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Exhausting themselves while laboring in the fields and attempting to bring up their children, slaves had an arduous time being a mother. In the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison, mothers Sethe, Baby Suggs, and Sethe’s “ma’am” are expected to do just that. Due to the difficulties these mothers have, specifically Sethe, Denver begins to exhibit mother-like qualities without actually having any children of her own. Motherhood is shown to be a motif in the novel through these characters and their struggles between slavery and maternity. Slavery forced Baby Suggs to give up seven of her children: “Seven times she… held a little foot, examined the fat fingertips with her own – fingers she never saw become the male or female hands a mother would recognize anywhere” (Morrison 163). Seven of her eight children were taken from her, sold to other slave owners, leaving her with no idea where they went or if they were even still alive. Her eighth and final child, Halle, was the only one she was allowed to keep. She tried not to love him for fear she would lose…show more content…
Sethe’s mother “...was pointed out to her by the eight-year-old child who watched over the young ones…” (Morrison 37). Sethe’s “ma’am” could not even nurse Sethe, who then took her milk from someone else, Nan. The most Sethe’s mother did for her was show her a mark she could recognize her by if her face was so badly beaten Sethe was incapable of knowing who it was. Sethe’s mother was ultimately hanged, but Nan took Sethe away before she could look for the mark and tell if it was her mother for certain. Nan was more of a mother to Sethe than her actual mother, having nursed her as a baby, and told Sethe that she was the only child her mother kept, while Sethe’s mother had thrown away the other children she had from the white men who took advantage of her as a

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