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Scars of Sethe and Paul D in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

The Scars of Sethe and Paul D in Beloved

Scars are undoubtably an incredible means of storytelling in Beloved. No matter how a person changes or what happens to them, these marks are another bit of tangible history, following each of them wherever they may go. These physical characteristics are what one can believe in, more than what is said or written. When written and oral language can many times not be trusted, physical characteristics provide another more certain form of communication–one that cannot be biased or altered.

People not only know the identity of someone by knowing their scars, but each scar tells a story of what a person has gone through. Sethe’s back and the scars caused by her beating are important in the story in terms of telling a story of what she’s been through, providing a way in which she and some of the other characters may connect. For example, Paul D learns more about Sethe and is able to connect with her through her scars. When Sethe first attempts to explain to Paul D what had happened to her on pages 16-7, he has trouble understanding the true…

scarsbel Using Scars to Communicate in Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Using Scars to Communicate in Beloved

There are certainly complications to assumptions of how scars are used as a means of communication in the novel, Beloved. The character named Beloved has her own distinct scars that bear significance in the story. Her scars are distinct not only in their origins, but also in their meaning, and create a point of diversion from the traditional pattern established by the role of scars in the lives of other characters. The scratches on her forehead and the cut across her neck were not made by a white oppressor, but instead by her own mother, Sethe. Sethe kills her own daughter in a fit of anxiety, rather than to have her children taken away by the slave owners which tracked her down following her escape. These markings tell Beloved’s story, how her own mother sawed away at the baby girl’s tiny neck, her fingernails clawing into her forehead. In the end, this is the way in which Sethe can identify the returned from the dead Beloved (now an adult) as well. These scars serve as a reminder of everything Beloved had gone through. They become a symbo…

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