Is Sethe a character more deserving of pity or scorn in "Beloved"?

Essay by tmac001High School, 11th gradeA+, June 2006

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To be a person deserving of pity is to be someone who has had a life of horrible and life-changing experiences. In the novel, "Beloved", Sethe, the main character, is an escaped slave shown throughout the story going through many horrific events. Sethe escaped the Sweet Home plantation to Ohio because of the terrible living conditions she endured there as a slave. The journey to Ohio was quite intense, on the way Sethe went into labour, and was forced to give birth to her fourth child in a boat. When Sethe arrived in Ohio, she lived in house number 124. Her life in Ohio was just as bad as it was at the Sweet Home. Sethe endured many hardships, and was isolated from the community. Only after being at 124 for a short period of time, the Schoolteacher, the man who was in charge of Sweet Home, and his nephews came to take Sethe back to Sweet Home.

They cornered Sethe and her children in a shack, with nowhere to escape. Sethe killed her first daughter, Beloved, and attempted to kill her other children as well as a desperate attempt to save them from the Schoolteacher and his nephews. Throughout the story, Sethe recalls many repressed memories, which show that her whole life was full of misery and pain. It can be said that Sethe is indeed a person more deserving of pity, as her living conditions and life were worse of that of the average slave. Sethe's suffering justified her behaviour and attitude.

While at the Sweet Home, Sethe, pregnant with her fourth child, was viciously abused and raped by the Schoolteacher and his nephews. As Paul D and Sethe recall memories from the Sweet Home, Sethe explains to Paul D how the school teacher's...