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.