The Role Of Trees In Toni Morrison

7 July 2017

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& # 8217 ; s Beloved Essay, Research Paper

Nature frequently times stand for a alone composure. Toni Morrison doesn Ts make anyexceptions to this thought. In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison uses trees to typify comfort, protection and peace. Morrison uses trees throughout Beloved to stress theserenity that the natural universe offers. Many black characters, and some white and Native American characters, refer to trees as offering composure, mending and flight, thusconveying Morrison s message that trees bring peace. Besides utilizing the fresh scharacters to convey her message, Morrison herself shows and shows the good andcalmness that trees represent in the tree imagination in her narrative. Toni Morrison usestrees and characters responses to them to demo that when one lives through an ordeal ashorrible as bondage, one will of course happen comfort in the simple or apparently harmlessaspects of life, such as nature and particularly trees. With the tree s symbolism of flight and peace, Morrison uses her characters mentions to their repose and soothing nature as messages that merely in nature couldthese oppressed people find comfort and flight from unwanted ideas. Almost everyone of Morrison s characters find safety in trees and nature, particularly the maincharacters such as Sethe and Paul D. During Sethe s clip in bondage, she has witnessedmany gruesome and atrocious events that inkinesss endure such as tannings and lynchings.However, Sethe apparently chooses to retrieve the sight of lacewood trees over thesight of lynched male childs, therefore uncovering her comfort in a tree s presence, Boys hanging from the most beautiful lacewoods in the universe. It shamed her-remembering the fantastic soughing trees instead than the male childs. Try as she might tomake it otherwise, the lacewoods beat out the kids every clip and she could notforgive her memory for that. ( 6 ) Although Sethe wants she would ve remembered the male childs alternatively, she probablyrationalized this idea because when she asks Paul D about intelligence of Halle, she picturesthe lacewoods alternatively of the possibility that Halle has been lynched: I wouldn Ts have toask about him would I? You d state me if there was anything to state, wouldn T you? Sethelooked down at her pess and proverb once more the lacewoods ( 8 ) . When Schoolteacher whipsSethe, go forthing her back leathery with cicatrixs, she refers to the cicatrix as a chokecherry tree tosoothe and to decrease the physically and emotional hurting that the cicatrix represents: Butthat s what she said it looked like, A chokecherry tree. Trunk, subdivisions and even leaves.Tiny small chokecherry leaves ( 16 ) . While Sethe thinks of trees to mend and quiet herpain and agony, Paul D straight looks for physically existent trees as his flight fromeveryday slave life. During Paul D s clip in bondage, he chose to love trees for their comfort and calmqualities: & # 8230 ; trees were ask foring ; things you could swear and be nigh ; talk to if you wantedto as he often did since manner back when he took the noon repast in the Fieldss ofSweet Home ( 21 ) . Because of these qualities, Paul D chose one peculiar tree, largerand more inviting than other trees, to ever return to. A tree which he named Brother and a tree that listened and comforted and was ever at that place. But most significantly, Brother represents the soothing flight from bondage which Paul D didn T and doesn thave: His pick he called Brother, and sat under it, entirely sometimes. Sometimes withHalle or the other Pauls & # 8230 ; ( 21 ) . After a long twenty-four hours working in the Fieldss, Paul D wouldrest, frequently times under the towering but soothing presence of Brother with Halle, thePauls and Sixo: He, Sixo and both of the Pauls sat under Brother pouring H2O from agourd over their caputs & # 8230 ; ( 27 ) . Not merely do trees stand for comfort, they besides represent aplace of security, a topographic point for flight from slave life. When Sixo visits the Thirty-MileWoman, he escapes into the secure forests before her maestro could catch him: But Sixohad already melted into the forests before the cilium could unroll itself on his indigobehind ( 25 ) . While Paul D sits under Brother to happen comfort, Sixo enters the forests atnight to dance, flight slave life and to maintain his civilization: Sixo went among the trees atnight. For dance, he said, to maintain his lineages open, he said ( 25 ) . Even Beloved, thestrange human phantom of the Crawling Already Baby, apparently finds comfort withtrees when she appears in the existent universe: She hardly gained the dry bank of the streambefore she sat down and leaned against a mulberry tree ( 50 ) . Morrison s characters referto trees for comfort, flight and safety, therefore conveying Morrison s message. While the chief important characters refer to the trees repose and comfort, characters with lesser significance or lesser prominence in Beloved besides refer to trees, non to themselves though, to convey the message that nature helps supply comfort andescape. Amy Denver, the whitewoman who had helped Sethe through labour merely appearsonce in the book during Denver s narrative. Although she merely appears one time, her treereference to Sethe s scarred back helps comfort Sethe s physical and mental hurting: It s a tree Lu. See, here s the trunk- it s ruddy and disconnected unfastened, full of sap, and this here s theparting for the subdivisions. You got a mighty a batch of subdivisions. Leafs, excessively, look like, anddern if these ain T flowers. Bantam small red tree flowers, merely as white. Your back gota whole tree on it. In bloom. ( 79 ) Amy Denver uses a euphemism for Sethe s cicatrix, naming it a chokecherry tree to ease thepain and memory that the cicatrix brings. The image of a chokecherry tree brings spring, bloom and peaceable nature alternatively of the shame, hurting and unhappiness that the cicatrix trulyrepresents. Trying to ease Sethe s pain some more, Amy Denver hunts for spiderwebs,

another merchandise of mother nature, to drape over Sethe s tree to chill the hurting and tothen refer to the

scar as a Christmas tree to conjure images of peace and happiness totake Sethe s mind off her pain and suffering: Amy returned with two palmfuls of web,which she cleaned of prey and then draped on Sethe s back, saying it was like stringing atree for Christmas (80). While the whitewoman Amy Denver aided Sethe, a group ofCherokee Indians helped Paul D to his freedom. When Paul D escapes from Alfred,Georgia, the Cherokees tell him to follow cherry blossoms to freedom and escape fromAlfred, Georgia: That way, he said, pointing. Follow the tree flowers, he said. Onlythe tree flowers. As they go, you go. You will be where you want to be when they aregone (112). Nature brings a certain calmness to life and the characters references to treessupport this idea. While Morrison relies on her characters references to trees to conveyher message, she herself indirectly reiterates her point by using symbolic tree imagery inher narration. In her description of the path to the clearing, Morrison describes droopingtrees as if they represented towering guards seemingly bringing serenity and security to aonce sacred place: The old path was a track now, but still arched over with treesdrooping buckeyes onto the grass below (89). The mere image of draping branches overthe path to the clearing implies the security that trees bring. And to further her point,Morrison subtlety implies the sin of cutting down soothing, calming trees by describingthe lumberyard s surroundings and the old sawyer: Up and down the old lumberyard fence old roses were dying. The sawyer who hadplanted them twelve years ago to give his workplace a friendly feel- something to takethe sin out of slicing trees for a living… (47) Besides representing protection, security and comfort, Morrison also implies that treesbring good things. To Sethe and Denver, Beloved represents the best things in the world,a daughter and a sister. When Sethe and Denver first discover their best thing, Belovedis slumped over a tree stump, Morrison s subtle message that trees bring good things: Just as she thought it might happen, it has. Easy as walking into a room. A magicalappearance on a stump, the face wiped out by sunlight… (123). Morrison also uses thisimplication when various townspeople leave food for Denver and Sethe on a tree stump: Two days later Denver stood on the porch and noticed something lying on the tree stumpat the edge of the yard. She went to look and found a sack of white beans. Another time aplate of cold rabbit meat. One morning a basket of eggs sat there. (250) Not only can trees bring good things, trees can also bring people into good situations.When Paul D. leaves the woods, he finds himself in Wilmington with food and atemporary home as if Morrison implies that the woods lead him to comfort: Crawlingout of the woods, cross-eyed with hunger and loneliness, he knocked at the first backdoor he came to in the colored section of Wilmington (131). Paul D has also followedthe tree blossoms to Sethe, another sign that trees help bring good and calmness.Morrison s indirect implications of tree s soothing nature has strong symbolism,representing the comfort and calmness to readers. While Toni Morrison mainly uses tree imagery as a message of serenity andcomfort, she uses her characters responses to trees to show that perhaps when one livesthrough a horrific ordeal like slavery, people find comfort in the natural world for itscalmness and seemingly harmless characteristics. For Paul D, loving small thingsrepresents survival. When forced into Alfred, Georgia, Paul D encounters the most evilthat he has ever encountered before, but despite tasting the iron bit, watching Sixo burn,losing Halle and the Pauls, and facing Schoolteacher s slavery, Paul D finds comfort in ayoung tree in the prison camp: Loving small and in secret. His little love was a tree of course, but not like Brother- old,wide and beckoning. In Alfred, Georgia, there was an aspen too young to call a sapling.Just a shoot no taller than his waist. The kind of thing a man would cut to whip his horse.(221) For Stamp Paid, an established savior, he feels the most comfortable when he helps andaids others. Stamp Paid s picking berries for Sethe and Denver symbolizes his comforttowards helping people with the goodness of nature: …went off with two buckets to aplace near the river s edge that only he knew about where blackberries grew, tasting sogood and happy that to eat them was like being in church (136). A similar figure toStamp Paid, Baby Suggs holy also finds the most comfort in helping others, givingadvice, passing messages, healing the sick, hiding fugitives, loving and loving somemore. She became a holy presence in town and preached from a rock in the clearingsurrounded by trees, doing what she finds comfort in, helping and preaching to others: In the Clearing, Sethe found Baby s old preaching rock and remembered the smell ofleaves simmering in the sun, thunderous feet and the shouts that ripped pods off the limbsof chestnuts. With Baby Suggs heart in charge, the people let go (94). Even Sixo, the wild man went among the trees at night to keep his bloodlines open. Each one of these characters has endured the horrors of slavery and faced thisordeal in different ways, but they all deal with slavery with the comforting and harmlessaspect of nature, trees. Although people today don t have to live through slavery, peoplestill have to face their own tough personal situations. Instead of having nature to sootheone s problems, people today drown their sorrows in material possessions and controlledsubstances, unfortunately a problem plaguing society. Readers can only remember a timenot too long ago when the little secret hiding place in the woods or one s special thinkingrock meant a great deal more than material items, a simple healthy escape from life andit s problems.

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