Memory in Beloved Essay

Words: 1885
Pages: 8

Clariza Gutierrez

April 16, 2012

English 320

In everyone’s life there is a moment that is so dreadful and horrific that it is best to try to push it further and further back into your mind. When traumatized by death for example it is very natural to shut off the memory in order to self-defense suppresses the awful emotional experience. Very often it is thoughtful that this neglecting and abandoning is the best way to forget. In Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, memory is depicted as a dangerous and deliberating faculty of human consciousness. In this novel Sethe endures the oppression of self imposed prison of memory by revising the past and death of her daughter Beloved, her mother and Baby Suggs. In Louise Erdrich’s
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After her death, Gordie thought to himself, “We knew each other better than most people who were married a lifetime. We knew the good things, but we knew how to hurt each other too.” “They had always been together, like brother and sister stealing duck eggs, blowing crabgrass between their thumbs, chasing cows (pg 208).” Similar to Sethe, Gordie tries to shut down the past and memories of loved ones. Moreover, Gordie tries to deal with June’s death by shutting down all his memories together through drinking alcohol. “A month after June died, Gordie took the first drink, and then the need was on him like a hook in his jaw, tipping his wrist, sending him out with needles piercing his hairline, his aching hands (pg 208).” In this section of the novel, Gordie also justifies that his hands remembered things his mind could not. “His hands remembered things he forced his mind away from—but what his hands remembered now were the times they struck June. They remembered this whole they curled around the gold-colored can of beer he had begged down the road at Eli’s. (pg 209).” Here we discover through Gordie’s memories that he once was abusive with June and that his hands also had memories of their own which were clearer to Gordie than his actual mind. Despite the fact that Gordie has these abusive memories of June, he also has some quite delightful memories of them together at their honeymoon. “ Side by side, they walked the little path to the cabin, went in, and lay