A comparative approach to maternal love in beloved and uncle tom’s cabin

  • Số trang: 47 |
  • Loại file: PDF |
  • Lượt xem: 15 |
  • Lượt tải: 0
minhtuan

Đã đăng 15929 tài liệu

Mô tả:

Can Tho University School of Social Sciences and Humanities Department of Foreign Languages A Comparative Approach to Maternal Love in Beloved and Uncle Tom’s Cabin B.A Thesis Supervisor: Nguyen Thi Nguyen Tuyet, M.A Researcher : Nguyen Thi Phi Yen Code : 7063128 B.A. class NN0654A3 Course 32 Cantho, April 2010 Statement of Originality I certify that this work has not been submitted in whole or in part to this university or to any other educational institution for marking and assessment either previously or concurrently. I also certify that I have not received any outside help and that unless otherwise attributed the material presented is all my own original work. Nguyễn Thi Phi Yến April 2010 Contents Pages Contents Acknowledgement Abstract Chapter 1 Introduction 1.1 Rationale 1.2 Research aims 1.3 Organization of the thesis Chapter 2 Literature Review 2.1 Historical background of slavery and slaves in America in the 19th century I II III 1 2 2 2 4 4 2.1.1 Historical background of slavery 4 2.1.2 Historical background of slaves 6 2.2 Similarities and differences in maternal love expressed in Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin 9 2.2.1 Similarities 10 2.2.2 Differences 15 Chapter 3 Research Methodology 3.1 Research questions 3.2 Research method 3.3 Materials 3.4 Procedure Chapter 4 Results and Discussions 4.1 The identity of the two mothers 19 19 19 19 19 20 20 4.1.1 Sethe 20 4.1.2 Eliza 21 4.2 Maternal love in Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin 23 4.2.1 Similarities in the expression of maternal love in Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin 23 Cabin 4.2.2 Differences in the expression of maternal love in Beloved and Uncle Tom's 24 4.2.2.1 Sethe 24 4.2.2.2 Eliza 25 4.3 The unusual use of language in the expression of maternal love of the two slave mothers 26 4.3.1 The use of unusual words, narrative structures and repetitions 26 4.3.2 The use of comparatives and ironies 28 4.3.3 The use of metaphors and personifications 29 4.4 Symbolism 30 Chapter 5 Conclusions – Limitations – Implications – Suggestions for further research 34 5.1 Conclusions 5.2 Limitations 5.3 Implications 5.4 Suggestions for further research Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Appendix 3 Appendix 4 Appendix 5 References 34 34 35 35 V VI VII VIII IX X Acknowledgement Honestly speaking, special mention should be made of the following people who kindly introduced me literature, and gave me helpful advice in conducting this study. Ms. Ho Phuong Thuy, who guided me in An Introduction to Literature and English literature course, firstly opened my interest in literature. Mr. Chau Thien Hiep, who indirectly gave me suggestions and encouraged me to fulfill this thesis, was the teacher of my learning way. Importantly, I would like to thank to the researchers, whose works are mentioned in references. The research made my approach to the topic more easily. My sincere thanks would go to Ms. Nguyen Thi Nguyen Tuyet, my supervisor, who zealously spent much time improving my writing. Also, she helped me enrich the store of related materials with many useful writings and contributed ideas to the development of completion of the thesis to finish it. Especially, I am also thankful to Ms. Truong Thi Kim Lien, who guided me in American literature course. She also lent me books and helpful suggestions to complete my paper. Thanks to her guide and indirectly supporting, my thesis is gradually shaped. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the executive and managerial staff of Department of Foreign Languages who alleviated me to carry on with my job. Lastly, I would like to thank my family and my friends for their encouragement and silent support during the time this paper was done. Abstract The aim of this study is to make a search for the darkest aspects of slavery, its cruelty and inhumanity which heavily posed on human beings for a long time. By making a comparative approach to Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987) and Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1981), this paper possibly puts readers into the plights of Sethe and Eliza, slave mothers to sympathize their senses of losses, pains and sorrows. Through the analysis of their inner infliction of the separation from their children, a spoken message is indirectly sent to the readers in the conclusion. Besides that the historical background of these stories which possibly reinforces their reliability is also provided. Lastly, the discussion on the use of language and symbols in the two works also helps to approach the authors' points of views on the evil of slavery and its victims as well. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION There are three parts concluded in this chapter. The first part is rationale which expounds why the thesis is fulfilled. The research aim is articulated in the second part. The organization of the thesis is presented in the last part. 1.1 Rationale There are three reasons motivated me to do this research. First, for almost four years at Can Tho University, I have learned specialized English like English Literature, American Literature, Phonetics and Phonology, Semantics, Public Speaking, Syntax, Morphology, and so forth. They are regarded as the most difficult but interesting subjects of English Major. These courses are going to finish and I find American Literature the most interesting one. It takes students a lot of time to critically read, think, write their ideas down and then rearrange them logically. Owing to the course, I find I gradually love to read and write so much. Second, honestly speaking, no one can deny the important role that literature has played in human spiritual life until now. In other words, literature is indispensable to human life. It not only helps to enrich human imagination, but it also makes man love his congener, and strongly condemns wrongdoings. As Mr. Nguyen (2001) stated that literature helps improve the reader's language skills, namely reading and writing. Especially, language learners have to read stories not only extensively but also intensively if they want to understand delicate meanings from these stories. In reality, literature reflects human daily life through specific stories, especially adversities which make readers burst into tears many times. In fact, among American pieces that I have ever read, Beloved by Toni Morrison and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which leave me a mixture of emotions, authentically reflect the harsh living conditions of slaves, especially female slaves. Certainly, Beloved takes readers deeper into Sethe's life and her memories; the horrifying circumstances of her baby's death gradually make a terrible sense. The appearance of a mysterious young woman about the same age as Sethe's daughter would have been relives painful memories in a long suffering slave mother, Sethe. Likewise, Uncle Tom’s Cabin brings readers back to the bank of Ohio River to witness Eliza’s unimaginable escape. She feels her and her young son, Harry, rather die than be slaves. Certainly, these slave mothers’ stories make me move to tears a lot of times. They are really worth many rereadings. Last but not least, slavery seems to be an unending concern of the society. Thanks to Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick, 1995), and Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer and Damien Lewis (Damien, 2003), I am stunned to realize slavery is not dead even in the 21st century. These are narratives of lucky slaves who successfully make their runs from slavery to freedom. Boldly, they produced irrefutable evidence of the cruelty and inhumanity of slavery in which they used to experience to express their fear of it so much. Probably, the readers once read to the end of the two novels, they might be in shock for slaves’ physical and mental sufferings as well. 1.2 Research aims The study makes a comparison on maternal love of the two selected novels, Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1981) to provide readers a closer look at the real slavery in America in the Pre and Post Civil War in 1860s. The focus is on the expression of maternal love in these two selected novels. Through the analysis of the internal world of the main female characters, the study with the title A Comparative Approach to Maternal Love in Beloved and Uncle Tom’s Cabin aims to discuss the psychological aspect in human reactions against the adversities to maintain their lives as true humans and honor the maternal love of the main characters as well. 1.3 Organization of the thesis This paper includes five chapters. Chapter 1 aims at introducing readers the motivation of conducting the research, titled A Comparison Approach to Maternal Love in Beloved and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Additionally, the aims of the thesis are clearly stated. Also, through this comparison on the two selected novels of social protest, it provides readers a profile of slavery in America in the 19th century. Also, this chapter will clearly outline the organization of this research. Chapter 2 opens an overview of related documents which give me a guide to complete the observation. Additionally, this chapter also presents information on slavery and slaves’ lives in America in the 19th century. Chapter 3 discusses about what research method should be employed. In chapter 4, the focus is on the discussion of similarities and differences in the expression of love of the two slave mothers and their personal identity as well. This chapter ends with the analysis of the use of language and symbols which go hand in hand with the acquisition of literary works. The last chapter, chapter 5 includes five parts: conclusions, limitations, implications and suggestions for further research. CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Historical background of slavery and slaves in America in the 19th century 2.1.1 Historical background of slavery There were a lot of significant events related to slaves taking place in America in the 19 century. In fact, America was not the birth of slavery; however, slavery became an indispensable factor in the process of making American history. At the beginning of the 19th century, America stepped into the Industrial Revolution which started with the cotton revolution taking place in the South. Hence, the demand for slave labor increased rapidly. “Between 1800 and 1860, the number of slaves doubled, and then doubled again to nearly four million.” (King, 2003) th According to King (2003), slaves made up more than 12% American population in general and more than 44% of Southerners in specific at the time. “On paper, all the facts favored the North. The states of the Union, for example, had much larger population – 22.5 million people; the South's population was only 9 million and nearly 4 million of that total were slaves.” (King, 2003) Certainly, American economy absolutely depended on slaves because they were the main workforce of the country, without them whether America had such rapid development. To King, it seemed that Americans got a lot of benefits from slavery; however, the dispute of slavery broke the relationship between the North and the South in ruins. While the practice of slavery ended in the North at the start of the 19th century. In contrast, the Southerners found themselves absolutely depended on slavery, so they started defending it. Everything got worse when a vocal minority of the Northerners began to speak up against slavery which was inhumanity and against God’s law. An American Anti-slavery Society was formed in the North. It included some Whites and Blacks. They used books, newspapers, and public allies to criticize the issue of slavery in the South. In his essay, Eyewitness: The Negro in American History, William Loren Katz (1995) proved that among these abolitionists, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1854) with her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, made the evils of plantation slavery awesome. Especially, it helped Northerners convince some Southerners to fight against the slavery system. “Though the slave narratives were immensely popular, the anti-slavery document which would reach the broadest audience was written by a white woman named Harriet Beecher Stowe. Stowe was less threatening to white audiences than were black ex-slaves. Her anti-slavery message came in the form of a novel, which was even more accessible to a wide audience. It was called Uncle Tom's Cabin”. (Katz, 1995) Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom Cabin, an anti-slavery novel, written by a white author was appreciated because of its literary value and authentic features which made it well-known and lasting to audiences for a long time. Having quite the same viewpoint with Katz (1995); Christina Gulas (2004) debated in her essay, Denial of Womanhood in Uncle Tom's Cabin, “Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, written during the period of boiling tumult that was to erupt into the Civil War, has struck its readers in more ways than one. Wildly popular, Uncle Tom's Cabin was made into theatrical pieces and children's books.” (Gulas, 2004) Gulas only concentrated on the influence of the novel on the political view that it was well-known as an anti-slavery tool. In other words, the novel had an entire effect on America at that time. On the other hand, Southerners argued that there was nothing wrong with slavery; otherwise, they were fear of slaves’ revolt against them, so they enforced the maltreatment on them. Additionally, in 1857, the U.S Supreme Court passed the rule in Dred Scott’s case [a running slave] that slaves were property and they could be taken into all territories. It made Northerners horrified so much. Consequently, the relationship between the two regions was in hopelessness. Several attempts were made in the vain hope of saving the country from the Civil War. On April 13, 1861, the Civil War began. According to King (2003), it was the bloodiest war in American history, claiming more than lives than all of American other wars combined. In wartime, on September 22, 1862, Lincoln, president of the North promulgated the Emancipation Proclamation in which he stated that “all slaves in all states still in rebellion would be declared “forever free”.” (King, 2003) "That on the 1st day of January;A,D,1863, all persons held as slaves within many state or Designated part of a state the people where of shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do to act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they make for their actual freedom." Slaves were changed to African American instead.” (King, 2003) It meant that slaves could do whatever they wanted since then. In fact, African Americans had a long suffering time in America. They did not get the actual freedom when the document came into effect because the eleven Confederate States were still in rebellion “As of January 1, 1863, the document stated, all slaves in states still in rebellion would be declared “forever free.” No slaves were actually set free by the statement because the eleven Confederate states were still “in rebellion.”” (King, 2003) However, it gave a great encouragement to former slaves who were trained and forced into the front line to fight for their freedom in the Civil War. The end of the Civil War was on April 10, 1865. The victory of the North gave an entrance for African Americans into politics and some of them seemed very active. Subsequently, they participated in the Reconstruction; however, it did not provide them with either the legal protections or the material resources from the government. On the other hand, to Alan Brinkley (2003), at the beginning of his book, American History, he stated that the Reconstruction helped African Americans establish their position in the United States in the twentieth century and later. It also became the basic for their efforts to get actual freedom and equality. 2.1.2 Historical background of of slaves The 19th century was a remarkable period of time in American history. One of the most outstanding events took place in April 1866 that was Congress passed the first Civil Rights Act in which Blacks were declared to be citizens of the United States. Meanwhile, hundred painful stories of former slaves came to light which made readers really stunned. To Solomon Northrup, a former slave, the author of Twelve Years a Slave which was excerpted from American Heritage American Voices Civil War and Reconstruction by King (2003), he was kidnapped and enslaved to labor on a cotton plantation in Louisiana. His life on the plantation was considered “Hell on Earth”. He was not only whipped smartly, overworked, but underfed for a long time. "Slaves in the United States are treated with barbarous inhumanity that they are overworked, underfed, wretchedly clad and lodged, and have insufficient sleep, that they are often made to wear around their necks iron collars armed with prongs, to drag heavy chains and weights at their feet white working in the field, and to wear jokes, and bells, and iron horns, that they are often keep confined in the stocks day and night for weeks together, made to wear gags in their mouths for hours or days, have some of their teeth torn out or broken off, that they must be easily detected when they run away, that they are frequently flogged with terrible severity, have red pepper rubbed into their lacerated flesh, and hot brine, spirits of turpentine, etc." (King, 2003) The description of slavery in Twelve Years a Slave by Northrup was also grounded on fact that the life of slaves was a succession of long suffering days and full of misery. They often suffered great hardships from the rising until the going down of the sun. They must go to work at plantation with "cursing, raving, cutting, and slashing" of oversees. However, what they were paid was not equal with what they produced. They received little food, clothing and have little time to sleep. Moreover, bloody scenes which they witnessed everyday were really terrible. Similarly, in Narrative of The Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass (1995), slaves' spiritual sufferings were deeply expressed through the writer's own experience in his slave-time that he knew nothing about when he was born. Moreover, his mother was sold off to the other white master when he was an infant. In his life time, he saw her few times which was not enough to make him bond with her. According to Douglass, singing which was somehow used to cry out against slavery was also the only way of slaves to make themselves feel released. In work, slaves always sang happy words with mournful tunes, or mournful words with happy tunes. They all had to conceal their true feelings to avoid the slaveholders' maltreatment. “I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.” (Douglass, 1995) Slavery started to make itself intolerable because its cruelty and viciousness caused on female slaves. They not only suffered physical painfulness, but mental damages from their masters through sexual abuses. The more beautiful they were, the more sexual abuses they had to endure because they were forced to satisfy their masters' sexual needs as well as they had to raise children for the masters. Consequently, slave women were expected to have babies as soon as she could. Some of them had children at the age of twelve or thirteen. Sojourner Truth in Slavery in the 19th Century by Pearson and Robertson (1991) was an excellent example in such case. She was compelled to satisfy her master’s sexual need. In the long run, she had thirteen children and all of them were sold off to other white masters. The long suffering mother, after all, seemed absolutely devastated in making attempts to reunite with her children. In other cases, in order to increase the workforce among slaves the master could force their female slaves to raise them children by compelling them to have children with other slaves whom they not love, but they had no choice. Hilliard Yellerday in The Making of African American Identity by Levi Coffin (1876), an ex-slave in the North Carolina, was a victim of such the case. She was threatened that if she did not raise children for her owner, she would be beaten to death. In order to be alive, she must follow his order. Her life became terrible since then. To Coffin, by making a collection of such narratives, he indirectly made readers infer that masters considered their slaves as goods which they produced to sell at a higher price. “Enslaved women were forced to submit to their masters' sexual advances, perhaps bearing children who would engender the rage of a master's wife, and from whom they might be separated forever as a result. Master forcibly paired “good breeders” to produce strong children they could sell at a high price.”(Coffin, 1876) By reading such narratives, readers may be impressed by a lively depicted picture of many aspects of slavery which are full of losses, painfulness and tragedies. These are some representative cases in American slavery in the 19th century and such masters’ behaviors caused death in physical and mental lives of slaves, especially female slaves. Those evil acts have been seriously opposed forever. 2.2 Similarities and differences in the expression of maternal love in Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin It was obvious that there was a slave law system in America in the 19th century. According to the definition of law-books “A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry, and his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire any thing, but what he must belong to his master” (Stowe, 1981). This is the citation of the law of Louisiana in which slaves are properties and they possess nothing even their own bodies. Similarly, the law of South Carolina and Georgia stated that “Salve shall be deemed, sold, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law, to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever.” (Stowe, 1981) It goes without saying that it gives readers a general imagination about slavery in which the gap between slaves and their masters can not be abolished. Additionally, slaves are not more than their masters’ belongings which can be sold, used, and determined depending on the masters. In Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin, slaves' lives make readers get heartrending or even heartbreaking for racial discrimination in America in 19th century by their own words, feelings, and lives which are full of losses and tragedies. As Beloved was built by the true story of Margaret Garner, a black American slave woman, who killed her baby to save her [the child] from the slavery that she intended to escape from. In Toni Morrison (1931-) - Originally Chloe Anthony Wofford by Petri Liukkonen (2008), he stated that “Beloved was inspired by the true story of a black American slave woman, Margaret Garner. She escaped with her husband Robert from a Kentucky Plantation, and sought refuge in Ohio. When the slave masters overcame them, she killed her baby, in order to save the child from the slavery she had managed to escape.” (Liukkonen, 2008) In his essay, Liukkonen provided readers the background of Morrison's works. Especially in Toni Morrison's Beloved, he only focused on racism and male dominated society. The mother-daughter relationship has been ignored which will be carefully considered in this paper. In the same way, Eliza's story was also adopted from the story of a slave woman in Kentucky (Stowe, 1981). Eliza got a lot of empathy from readers. Evidentially, Lincoln's famous saying in the meeting with Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1863 was remarkable notice “The little lady who made this big war” (Stowe, 1981). To King, Uncle Tom's Cabin made readers, especially who were in the North, transform from sympathize to empathize to slaves “Many readers in the North who knew little or nothing about slavery were transformed into abolitionists by this story.” (King, 2003) However, he only noticed on the political view of the story that it was a powerful novel which had an important influence on the victory of the Civil War. In other words, he made light of the literary aspect of the work which will be heedfully analyzed in this study. Likewise, in the Christian Science Monitor which is excerpted from Novels for Students by Perkins (1999), Merle Rubin evaluated Beloved, “A stunning book and lasting achievement”. Similarly, in the Times Literary Supplement, Jennifer Uglow considered Beloved one of the novels prominent themes which concentrated on “the developing of self”. Similar to the other critics, Rubin analyzed deeply the process of selfdevelopment of the main characters. In other words, he took no notice of the motherdaughter relationship in the novel which will be profoundly carried out in this research. From the two novels, Stowe and Morrison authentically drew the life of slaves. Wives must be far from their husbands. Children were parted from their mothers. They were sold from hand to hand. The authoresses not only describe the miserable lives of slaves under physical abuses, but they also emphasize on psychological and sexual traumas that cause female slaves' sufferings. Readers' indignation about the viciousness of slavery has not burn out yet. They have been sunk into thought about the circumstances of Cassy, Emmeline, and Baby Suggs. They were all the victims of sexual abuses. As a consequence, hundred of slave children were born as the way to enrich masters' properties. Poor the children whose fathers were unknown! After all, who were seriously affected by slavery? It was no doubt that slave mothers and their children were its main victims. 2.2.1 Similarities By shifting from slave mothers' physical sufferings to the emotional and psychological painfulness, the two novels concentrated on their emotional losses which seriously damaged their souls. Eye-witnessing their own children parted was considered they were driven to the wall. In such circumstance, as many as nine out of ten slave mothers would stage a protest against slave traders to prevent their children from being sold into slavery. Slave mothers' struggles against such circumstances which are somehow similar and different will be clearly pointed out through the analysis of the two novels. The most significant event is that Eliza's action was to make an adventurous escape. In The key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1854), Stowe provided readers the background of her story that although Eliza's crossing Ohio River at mid-night was performed with the help of other men, she was considered a superhuman because of her strong spirit for overcoming any obstacle in her escape to the free-land. “With regard to the incident of Eliza's crossing the river on the ice – as the possibility of the thing has been disputed the writer gives the following circumstance in confirmation. Last spring, while the author was in New York, a Presbytian clergyman of Ohio came to her, and said, “I understand they dispute that fact about the woman's crossing the river. Now, I know all about that, for I got the story from the very man that helped her up the bank. I know it is true, for she is now living in Canada.” it has been objected that the representation of the scene in which the plan for kidnapping Eliza is concocted by Haley, Marks,”.(Stowe, 1854) In other words, although the white master could oppress and destroy their bodies, poor black slaves’ strength and belief helped them to overcome hardship. Similar to Eliza, Sethe was also an admirable mother. She made an arduous escape to save her children from having the same plight with her, a slave. “Down in the grass, like the snake she believed she was, Sethe opened her mouth, and instead of fangs and a split tongue, out shot the truth. “Running,” Sethe told her. It was the first word she had spoken all day and it came out thick because of her tender tongue. “Them the feet you running on? My Jesus my.” she squatted down and stared at Sethe's feet. “You got anything on you, gal, pass for food?” “No.” Sethe tried to shift to a sitting position but couldn't.” (Morrison, 1987) After running far away from the slave plantation, ironically called the Sweet Home, Sethe was gradually exhausted because of her pregnancy. She tried to run for the rest of the way, and then she prayed in vain for help. Fortunately, a white woman, Amy, helped her when she was in labor alone. In the essay, The Bonds of Love and the Boundaries of Self in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Barbara Schapiro (1991), she stated that “Toni Morrison’s Beloved penetrates, perhaps more deeply than any historical or psychological study could, the unconsciousness emotional and psychic consequences of slavery.” Likewise, Morrison made Sethe’s escape from the slave plantation an act of performing her maternal love because she lived for only the role of a mother without it she had nothing. “Anybody can smell me before he saw me. And when he saw me he’d see the drops of it on the front of my dress. Nothing I could do about that. All I new was to get my milk to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me. Nobody was going to get it to her fast enough, or take it away when she had enough and didn’t know it. Nobody know that she couldn’t pass her air if you held her up on your shoulder, only if she was lying on my knees. Nobody knew that but me and nobody had her milk but me. I told that to the women in the wagon. Told them to put sugar water in cloth to suck from so when I got there in a few days she wouldn’t have forgot me. The milk would be there with it.” (Morrison, 1987) It can be said that Sethe's love for her baby is as valuable as her blood, the only source of life that is strongly circulating in her body. Hence, she wanted to keep her milk entirely only for her baby. In other words, she wanted to keep her by her side all the times because only the mother might look after her child with all her heart. Under agreement with above viewpoints, James Phelan (1998), in his essay, Sethe's Rough Choice, discussed that Sethe's decision was to murder her daughter rather than have her become a slave made her an abnormal mother because her act originally came from maternal love. For this reason, it was considered as the most stunning and remarkable event in American Literature in general and Beloved in specific “Stunning for obvious reasons: how can the love of a mother for her child lead her to murder the child?” Besides that Phelan in his journal, The Mother-daughter Aje Relationship in Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1998), mentioned to the ethical term in mother-daughter relationship which really made readers move to tears. To him, mother-daughter relationship in Beloved was inherent in African women, so they acted on their own code. “Aje is a Yoruba word and concept that describes a spiritual force that is thought to be inherent in African women, additionally, spiritually empowered humans are called Aje. The stately and reserved women of Aje are feared and revered in Yoruba society. Commonly and erroneously defined as witches, Aje are astrallyinclined human beings who enforced earthly and cosmic laws, and they keep society balanced by ensuring that human beings follow these laws or are punished for their transgression.”(Phelan, 1998) However, Phelan only analyzed the mother-daughter relationship of African American as a tradition. For instance, he tried to address Morrison's critical challenge by using an African theoretical perspective which centered on a force called Aje to interpret the intricacies of the mother-daughter relationship in Beloved. He did not deeply dig into the mother-daughter relationship of slaves in the novel which will be carefully dissected in this study. On the contrary, in Barbara Schapiro Slavery and Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Terry Paul Caesar concerned about violence in the work. By demonstrating on contemporary feminism, he pointed out the violating issue through infanticide. “Beloved, in terms of its dramatization of a single act of violent: infanticide.” (Caesar, 1994) The violent feature that he mentioned was Sethe's infanticide. In adversity, Sethe killed her baby. By this way, she thought she could keep her to be safe from the evil of slavery. However, her action was extremely condemned by her conscience in the rest of her life. Taking everything into consideration, these slave mothers struggled unwearyingly to get freedom for their children with all their incredible mental strength. They considered freedom the most precious thing all over the world which Howard W.Fulweiler (2000) focused on in his essay, Belonging and Freedom in Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Slavery, Sentimentality, and the Evolution of Consciousness. He stated that “The slaves themselves desired freedom above all else, but many yearned of some aspects of familiar “Slavery times”.” (Fulweiler, 2000) Additionally, freedom which is considered “family value” is the main goal and the hope of slaves so that the desire of freedom and peaceful life urged these slave mothers overcoming a lot of dangers and obstacles on the way to free-land. The way these slave mothers expressed their maternal love as well as their spiritual strength by such behavior patterns skillfully accused the evil of slavery, especially the separation of the consanguinity. Both Eliza and Sethe felt them and their children rather die than be slaves. For this reason, Eliza was dicing with death when she crossed Ohio River with full of dangers at mid-night. Of the two works, Beloved made readers confused that the novel was a ghost story, but they will find it wrong. According to Jean Wyatt (1993), in Giving Body to the World: The Maternal Symbolic in Toni Morrison’s Beloved “Through the device of the ghost story, Morrison gives a voice to the preverbal infant killed by a mother desperate to save her child from slavery.” She also discussed that Morrison based on experience in Western culture to draw her story. “In Beloved Toni Morrison puts into words three orders of experience that Western cultural narratives usually leave out: childbirth and nursing from a mother's perspective, the desires of a preverbal infant, and the sufferings of those destroyed by slavery.”(Wyatt, 1993) On the contrary, in an essay for Novels for Students (1999), Wendy Perkins debated that due to the stream of consciousness style of Beloved which made Sethe's story more real and vivid. “Beloved's unconventional narrative structure, with its disrupted chronology and fragmented glimpses of the main characters, foregrounds this theme as it delineates the support that can enable and the obstacles that can impede this development.” (Wyatt, 1993) Although the two viewpoints are opposite to each other, they do not lead to a conflict because Wyatt and Perkins analyzed different aspects of the novel. While Wyatt focused on the influence of Western Culture on the work, Perkins concentrated on its structure. Thanks to their arguments, readers can clearly understand the life of slave mothers and the challenges they have to suffer when they and their children are parted. Besides that in The Story Must Go On and On: The Fantastic, Narration, and Intertextuality in Toni Morrison's Beloved and Jazz, Martha J.Cutter (2000) believed that Beloved is Beloved who came back to take revenge on her mother is a ghost. “The issue of Beloved's status in this novel, to decide unambiguously that she is a ghost – in fact, the ghost of the child Sethe killed eighteen years earlier.” (Cutter, 2000) However, in Nameless Ghosts: Possession and Dispossession in Beloved, Deborah Horvitz (1989) stated that “the text is so grounded in historical reality” which enforced readers' authentication about slavery. According to Detroit News ““Beloved”, “Filled with marvels … a book to ponder, to read aloud, to listen to … extraordinary” (Beloved, 1987). In brief, through Beloved and Uncle Tom's Cabin, readers may easily recognize the similarities in the expression of maternal love of Sethe and Eliza in their struggles to overcome the devastating effects to get freedom for their children. The two slave mothers made “spectacular” and arduous escape to save their children from being enslaved. They sacrificed their own lives with the only purpose that is to set their children free. Especially, these slave mothers willingly died with their children than have them become slaves. These are mothers of long suffering. They really drove readers from sympathy to empathy to their circumstances. These stories deeply and directly accused the cruelty and inhumanity of slavery in America in the 19th century. 2.2.2 Differences Caused by the painful experience in slavery, both Eliza and Sethe were afraid of it so much. The way they protected their children from being enslaved was amazing and admirable. Neither Eliza nor Sethe wanted their children to be sold into slavery. However, the way they made their desires come true was different. For Uncle Tom's Cabin and Beloved, the more readers felt happy with Eliza's successful escape, the more they got painfulness with Sethe's situation because of her infanticide which made her life directionless and haunted in the rest of her life. Unlike Eliza, Sethe's story made readers fear of slavery so much “After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk. That's what they came in there for. Held me down and took it.” (Morrison, 1987)
- Xem thêm -