Toni Morrison composed this unique, ‘Beloved’ and tried to illustrate primarily the psychological and physical effects of slavery in the minds of ex-slaves. The novel concentrates on the relationships of a mother and child, in which one of the daughter is alive whereas one is revealed as incarnated.

Sethe, mother and the central character, is not able to develop her own self and threatened by the life of slavery, she attempts to conserve her daughter by keeping her separated and away from black people also.

Sethe chooses to eliminate her kids instead of accepting them as servants and this encourages her to kill among her child and hurt her other children. As she had actually dealt with ruthlessness, sexual abuse and violence throughout her slave life, she hesitates that all those things would be duplicated with her kids too.


Sethe has a very complex relationship with herself. Sethe is the character that is not able to forget the trauma of the times when she was a servant and fearing that her kids may not fall into the exact same fate, chooses to even eliminate them.

The central theme is that Sethe remains in search of her own identity and Morrison likewise tries to show the ruthlessness and disturbing effects of slavery that existed even after they were not servants. The ex-slaves likewise feel inferior to the white people and when Denver goes out of her home to discover a job and finally she finds her identity. Sethe is lacking this throughout and keeps herself isolated and only plays the role of a mother.

‘Those white things have taken all I had dreamed’, she said, ‘and broke my heartstrings too. There is no misfortune in the world however white folks.'(Precious, Chapter 9, Page 89)

Sethe kills her baby woman so that she is not physically, spiritually or emotionally oppressed by the masters or whites of that time. Sethe suffers the regret of her this particular act and when the very first time ghost of Precious can be found in her home she gets extremely horrified and desires it to go away at any cost.

But the second time, Sethe permits Beloved’s ghost to ruin her home and digests her anger at even the cost of her relationships just because she thinks that in this manner she can calm down her child’s ghost. Cherished appears to be thinking about Sethe and she listens to her and this satisfies Sethe too. Sethe has actually faced the dark and dismal days of slavery and the entire life she tries to secure her children from getting into that life.

Sethe’s distinct interactions with Cherished, her incarnated child reveals an entirely different image. She has problem with herself and her emotions and most of the time she is lonesome. She trusts very few individuals and has cut herself socially, especially from the black people. She recognizes herself as a various person in various phases of her life.

Sethe’s relationship with Precious takes a different shape and assists her recover from the physical and mental injury of slavery. Using symbolism and allusions refer only to the confused and suffered frame of mind of Sethe.

Beloved has numerous grievances and believes that her mother abandoned her whereas Sethe is unable to describe her child why it was better to die that to reside in such terrible situations. At these stages Sethe appears to be powerless and ends up being more and more self-centered. She feels in some cases that she had no right to kill her child but the love and respect she had for her kids required her to do so.

Her dreams for her children and their future were absolutely not to live like servants and she did what the minute forced her mind to do. Her motherly feelings are different from a basic mother and she is seen very much possessive about her children too. She says,

“Any person white could take your entire self for anything that came to mind. Not simply work, eliminate or incapacitate you, but unclean you. Filthy you so bad you could not like yourself any longer.

And though she and others endured and got over it, she might never ever let it happen to her own. The very best things she was, was her kids. Whites might filthy her al, right, however not her finest thing, her beautiful, magical best thing– the part of her that was tidy.”(Cherished, Chapter 26, Page 251)

The unique in reality is Sethe’s memories in a shattered method and one needs to gather them and comprehend and this makes the recognition of relationships of Sethe with her two daughter all the more hard.


Bookrags. Precious Summary and Analysis Summary. From