Tuesday, February 18, 2014


In Beloved by Toni Morrison, there doesn't seem to be a large presence of fate unless you consider how the past has shaped the current lives of the characters in the novel.  Then again, this idea proves that there is no fate but actions of the past that help define the future.

Sethe and Denver live in a house, haunted by the ghost of the daughter Sethe murdered in hopes to free her from the brutal life of a black person in the harsh times post slavery.  Denver is Sethe's remaining child, the others having run off in fear of this ghost, and the two live almost sheltered in the house drowned by the presence of the memory of the time Beloved was killed.

Personally, the ghost represents the past in slavery, oppression, and fear.  Sethe and Denver cling to it, unwilling to let it go.  However, Paul D arrives at the house as a presence of forgiveness for the past and begins to drive the ghost of Sethe's dead baby out.  But as Paul D re-opens old wounds that Sethe had lain dormant, the baby comes back stronger and, in fact, drives Paul D out.

It takes a strong desire to forgive and forget in order to reshape a life.  Perhaps that is what fate is--the unwillingness to change the present situation of things.  It is the belief that things cannot change when, in fact, it takes a strong risk of action to drive out this idea and define your own future.

Is forgiveness the action that defeats fate?