A common theme that seemed to be interwoven throughout chapters fifteen through eighteen is the relationship between mother and daughter. These bonds seem to go far beyond any other relationship and the lack of a main father figure works to describe this sentiment. This is also why Paul D has met so much resistance from Beloved since he acts as a divider between her and Sethe. In this portion of Beloved, we are confronted with two motherly figures who sacrificed immensely for the sake of their children. Baby Suggs didn’t want freedom at the costs that would be associated with it, but she knew that Halle was uncompromising when it came to his mother’s wellbeing, so she reluctantly accepted to be bought freedom. Baby Suggs immediately felt the conflict that arose from this situation. Because Baby Suggs left Sweet Home before the Schoolteacher took over, she never knew that hardships of slavery that her peers did. But in particular, one event really stood out that makes me question Baby Suggs’ freedom. On page 180, directly after he grandchild died and her daughter went to jail, two children reminded Baby Suggs that she had to fix their boots. Even in freedom, Baby Suggs is indentured and still a slave to pay off her house.
We can find the parallels between this instance in Beloved and today, as many African Americans still treated as second class citizens. One example that I came across in Justice and Civil Society is directly related to the public school system in Richmond. Many predominantly black and poorer areas don’t have access to the same resources that much of America has. Because of this, these areas are stuck in self-fulfilling prophecies of poverty. The freedom that is promised to everyone and the “American Dream” are often illusions for many populations, even after decades of social growth.
We see a similar situation infold with Sethe, who would rather kill her children than have them go back to slavery. What I find interesting about this is that Sethe was not willing to have her children killed while they were in the midst of slavery. It was once she saw freedom that she realized just how bad their situation had been. What happens today when people don’t even know what they are deprived of? Regardless, these mothers were willing to risk everything in their lives, and even their children’s lives, for the sake of their children instead of themselves. It is the mother’s love that allows her children to move forward in life and work towards being truly free.