I'm breaking the cardinal rule of motherhood, which is to sleep when the baby sleeps, because it's Friday morning and I'm asking you to blog by today, but I hadn't updated yet. Sorry about that! As you may or may not know, I did finally have the baby this past week, so I've been a little busy with her! We are both home and happy, healthy as can be, thank you so much for your emails and comments wishing us well. As a reminder, you can always email me if you have a question about something in the book or a question about class, grades, etc. Also, I noticed that very few people commented on the blog last week - please be sure to stay focused during in-class time, as it is a chunk of your grade, and the semester is almost over!
Onto Beloved! We finally learn, at the end of Part 1, that Sethe is responsible for killing her daughter, and attempting to kill all of her children; this came as a huge shock to me when I first read this book! Sethe seems to be such a loving mother, who has her share of a very troubled past, but I never would have guessed that she had killed her own child. Suddenly, lots of Morrison's foreshadowing started to return to my mind when I read this part... I started thinking about references to Beloved's scar, to the ghost baby being in the house at the beginning, to why people might not talk to Sethe and Denver in town, to why Denver stopped going to school, to Beloved disappearing in the shed while Denver was getting cider. The shame of knowing that your mother was a murderer may have been too much to take! Why do you think that Sethe acted so violently against her children? What does schoolteacher's arrival at 124 have to do with Sethe's actions? I'd love to see a conversation form about this in the comments, and hopefully in class!
Also, Stamp Paid goes out of his way to make sure that Paul D knows about Sethe's history, but Paul D doesn't believe him, insisting that the woman in the newspaper clipping wasn't Sethe. He seems to be in denial at first, perhaps because he too can't believe that Sethe would commit such a horrible act. When he and Sethe finally talk about it and she tells him her reasoning, he makes the decision to leave her. This was a decision that made me upset -- everyone else had left Sethe, and it seemed like she and Paul D were headed toward a happy ending, but the past can sometimes greatly impact the present, and perhaps her keeping this a secret from him was enough to send him away. Why do you think that Paul D left Sethe after learning the truth? Do you think it was the right decision for him to make? Why or why not? (Use evidence from your reading to support your claim).
There's so much more to talk about and I'm sure you are having great discussions in class about the film and the book! I'd love to hear more about your discussions in your blog response! As I'm starting to think about Regents, I'm also starting to think about you guys using literary elements in your writing about novels. I was thinking about conflict and plot structure, and particularly if the conflict of Sethe's murder of her child is also the climax, or turning point, in the book. As a reader, it was a pivotal moment for me, when something major changed and I had to re-think the entire book. My last question to you is this: do you think that the scene of the baby's murder is the climax of the book? If so, why? If not, what do you think is the climax, or action-packed moment of truth?
Thank you guys so much for reading and responding! I miss you all, but it's cool to see your responses here and I will be in better touch as my family starts to develop our little routine. :) Oh, and I suppose you may want to see a photo of my daughter? Here you go. Now, write back to my questions and thoughtfully discuss the book!!