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Toni Morrison’s Beloved – Passion between Sisters

Passion between Sisters in Beloved

From the very beginning of Beloved I have found something very striking about Denver’s mannerisms toward Beloved. She is extremely possessive of her sister, not allowing Sethe to assist in caring for the young woman when she is ill. She treasures her time alone with Beloved while Sethe is at work in the restaurant more than anything in her life at that point. She is driven by a hunger to know about the mysterious history of her sister; a hunger that cannot be satisfied by her responses to Sethe and Paul D’s simple questions. She furthermore appears to be completely devastated, throwing herself into a blinding and violent rage in the midst of the cold house, when she believes she has been abandoned by the third and most precious of her siblings. It is an attraction that evidently lies in something more complex and difficult to understand than mere sisterly love; it lies rather in the unsettling sense of desperation on Denver’s part to be essentially one with Beloved.

Thus when the author reveals that, as an infant, Denver had taken “her mother’s milk right along with the blood of her sister,” (152) we are startled, but not necessarily surprised. What are the implications of this? Of course all siblings share the same family blood, but what does it mean for one to take that blood by means of the mouth? This is in a way very similar to the taking of Christ’s blood in the sacrament of communion. The wine that Catholics drink symbolizes the blood of Jesus, his death, and the consequent giving of himself to us and for us. As a result, Catholics are expected, according to their religion, to live their lives in the ways of Christ, striving ultimately to be one with him; to hunger for him. Denver, as a very young and innocent child, had desired the milk of her mother and instead had been fed the blood of her deceased sister. Her hunger had been satiated by the taste of her sister rather than her mother; an everlasting tie had been formed.

Kingston’s China Men

Kingston’s China Men

Maxine Hong Kingston’s China Men contains many fables and parables from the Chinese Culture. In “On Mortality” Kingston reveals the story of human mortality and the reason for this mortality. The story focuses largely on human emotions and reactions towards the situations that people find themselves in. It also raises questions about the role of women in the Chinese culture and the attitudes of the culture towards them.

The main character, Tu Tzu-chun, is forced to go through a series of tortures that are all illusions. He can not speak or react to the events that he witnesses, which he believes he can do. It is only at the last of the nine hells that he cries out in horror at the sight that he encounters. As he cries out, Tu is removed from the hells he is in and informed by the Taoist that he has ruined the chance for all humans to be immortal. The Taoist informs Tu that “[Tu] overcame joy and sorrow, anger, fear, and evil desire, but not love…”(121).

hat, though, constitutes this idea of love? During the illusions, Tu could not “overcome love” when he was reincarnated as a woman and faced with the murder of her young child, yet when he was still himself he quietly watched his wife be ground into bloodmeal. He did not cry out at that sight, reminding himself that it was only an illusion. How could he not react to this incident to his own wife, yet react to the death of a child he does not yet know? Both incidents were illusions and both would seem to involve love but Tu only reacted to one of them.

Is it because he was a woman that he cried out at the sight of a child being harmed? Did he not cry out at the death of his wife because she was a woman? The role of the female in this story reveals a sense of inferiority towards women. These questions that the story raises show how women were viewed as inferior and weak in the eyes of the Chinese culture.

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