Tuesday, March 01, 2022

Education in Sethe's "Twenty-eight days of unslaved life" in Toni Morrison's "Beloved"

In Toni Morrison's "Beloved", after escaping enslavement, Sethe has "twenty-eight days – the travel of one whole moon – of unslaved life" that is interrupted when she is threatened with capture by her enslaver, kills her older daughter to protect her from slavery (who returns as the ghost Beloved), and is prevented from killing her other children. But that month of "unslaved life" with "forty, fifty other Negroes" is idyllic and educational, with Sethe extending her existing knowledge with the help of her new community: "One taught her the alphabet; another a stitch." She knew language already; now she learns to write. She knew how to sew already; now she develops her skills. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 1 March 2022)

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