Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reconnect of Family

In beginning to create my make a thing project, I decided to partner with Jordan Willis, Raquel Baron, and Kolina Hocevar. We decided to use the fact that we were all in dance to our advantage. We agreed to make a video of an interpretive dance based on the book “Beloved” written by Toni Morrison. I think that choosing ‘“Beloved” was the best choice because it was the most recent book in my mind that I had the most knowledge about and had the best understanding of, although it is a hard read and complex book. “Beloved” is only really complicated in my opinion because of the many layers between the characters, but also because of the hidden meanings interlaced in the novel. Although “Beloved” is a complexed book, we chose as a group to simplify it to make it easier on ourselves.
Before we started to film our piece, the group tried to find a story line for the novel that would be easier to understand. The idea of family was what we chose to focus on. We decided on family because the drama that occurs between Sethe and her children all starts from a love a family. Sethe brutally beat her children and murdered her third child because of the fear of losing her family and having them suffer in slavery as she had. Slavery as a whole tears families apart. We tried to showcase that in the video of our dance by having four solos that represent different characters in the novel that come together as a family or community in the very beginning. For example I represent Denver and Paul D.
There is a duet in the video of Jordan and Raquel against a brick wall. In my opinion and the way that view the video, Jordan is Sethe while Raquel represents Beloved. The duet is important because it was meant to show how identities are lost within others. Towards the end of the novel there is a section in which each the woman of the novel start to morph into each. In the book it is represented by a poem in which Sethe, Denver, and Beloved are all speaking at the time, yet it starts to become extremely hard to recognize who exactly is speaking. Jordan and Raquel are doing the same movement at the same exact time in order to showcase Beloved and Sethe becoming one. It also represents when Sethe becomes weak and feeble, while Beloved starts to show signs of being pregnant like Sethe was at the beginning of the book; therefore showing a cycle.
Jordan tipping toeing across the picnic bench in the green room, to me showcases Sethe’s journey of escaping of slavery. The bench had a break in it which could be inferred as Sethe’s breaking point in her decision to escape slavery when most of the Sweet Home men had either been killed or gone insane. Also when her milk was stolen from her, therefore preventing her from doing the job of beginning able to care for her children.
I think that a lot of moments within the video of our interpretive dance show key moments in “Beloved”. By having everyone dance together in the beginning then break into solos, duets, and a trio show the isolation that came with slavery. Yet since Beloved is a manifestation of slavery and the suffering that comes with it, when she disappears the community and family come back together like in the video.

This is our video

This is my secondary source that I found that supports some of the things that I said about the novel.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Slavery? What exactly is this? Is it being forced to live in an inhuman way, or being looked down upon by others just because the color of skin is darker and hair much more coarse? Or is it a mental issue, dealing with the problem of being trapped by our own thoughts of the present, future, but mainly the past? Maybe it is a combination of both. Society since the 1700s has created this mind set that there will always be someone or something above us whether we like it or not. With this mindset, happiness and spirit were stolen.
In Beloved we witness what slavery can do to the spirit of a person.  A person’s spirit goes from being as bright as the stars to slowly but surely withering away with time to absolutely nothing. No motivation is left to look forward to the future,but to be full of regrets and left living in a past that is now out of the control of those that lived it. Sethe experienced being raped and the milk for her newborn child being stolen from her while she was still a slave at Sweet Home, therefore causing her to have this urge to finally escape slavery, and prevent her children from having to endure such cruelness. Yet when school teacher arrives after she escapes to try and attempt to drag Sethe back to a life she refuses to relive, Sethe acts animalistic by trying to kill her own children as well as earlier when she drowns her first baby girl; leaving her in complete isolation. By Sethe killing her kids it depicts slavery as causing people to become something they’re not, which leaves that person in a dark places that is nearly impossible to escape from. The isolation that is felt by Sethe because of her actions effects not only herself, but her second girl, Denver.
Slavery doesn’t just affect those that actually lived in it but those that came after. Yes the effects were much harsher for those that had to endure it, and there have been improvements, but it still is present today. Denver never personally witness slavery because she wasn’t actually born yet. Yet she is just as isolated from the community as her mother, because that is all she has ever known. Sethe carries her past through her wounds that are on her back, but also mentally and emotionally; not realizing that by carrying her past around she is preventing Denver from becoming her own person. Denver has spent her entire life basically in hiding from the rest of society in hopes of finally meeting her father. When she finally ventures out it’s an act of desperation because Beloved has completely taken over. Denver never gets the chance to grow up as a normal girl, because she lives in fear. Not only fear of the outside world, but in fear of the monster Sethe could become again.
Slavery has now formed itself into discrimination. In the 1960s, the Civil Rights movement for African Americans was not just to be treated equal, but was to show the world how Blacks were not these violate people that they were being depicted as. Those that were slaves paved the way for those that witnessed the Civil Rights Movement. It help create a platform for the stories of African Americans to be told. The isolation felt by Sethe and Denver is similar to the isolation Blacks felt and still feel in America. The song Strange  Fruit by Billie Holiday is about the lynching and horrid acts done to Blacks. It sheds light on a situation that many refused to even acknowledge. The NAACP was created in order to help lift Blacks in society.
In the Movie Django Unchained, Slavery is viewed as this funny situation that any slave could escape from when it really wasn’t. Just because Jamie Foxx got lucky as Django and met a nice abolitionist doesn’t mean it was easy and quite frankly is unrealistic. I love the movie Django because it is funny, but it doesn’t actually tell the story of slavery. It only touches on the aspect of family being separated from each other and being willing to do anything to be a actual family again. Just like Beloved’s infatuation with Sethe, but also how Denver doesn’t want Beloved to leave because it is finally just more than her and her mom. Her family is coming back together when Beloved arrives and she doesn’t want to let that go in fear of losing it forever; just like Beloved’s arrival in Sethe’s eyes is her past forgiving her. The movie Roots actually showcases the trials and tribulations faced by slaves and how it barely improved for years. Roots focuses on teaching real situations that could be happen. It shows from beginning to end how slaves were brought over and forced to lose their identity. Similar to how Sethe begins to lose her identity to Beloved and the manifestation of Beloved starts to become more like Sethe, which can all be found in mostly in part two of Beloved when Denver, Beloved, and Sethe all have a chapter from their point of view coming together at the end with a poem where it’s hard to tell who is truly speaking anymore. Slavery dehumanized the slaves leaving them with nothing but an identity given to them against their will.
Once Beloved is gone and is completely forgotten, it was like the past of slavery had finally been lifted from everyone's’ shoulders. Everyone is in a better place. Yet it is twisted because no one should truly forget their past because the past is what allows people to become the person they are today, which is what is stressed now, by movies such as Roots or 12 Years a Slave.