Beloved by Toni Morrison is a fictional novel that discusses the oppressive essence of slavery. In the fact that most of the characters seem to have lost their sense of self-worth, Sethe stands out. She constantly remembers her experience while staying with Denver, owing to the ghost of Beloved, who is a reincarnation of the daughter she murdered. Morrison presents this work in a tactical and precise manner. Sethe is attempting to transcend the impact of her slavery history in her present life, but there are certain truths she cannot embrace. In fact, she realizes that the ghost is a reincarnation of her daughter she killed with a saw to show off love and protect her from the inhuman conditions of slavery (Morrison 79). As the story indicates Sethe went through the horror of slavery while working at Sweet home with the family of Garner, however, when Mr. Garner died, school teacher practiced a harsher and stricter slavery that pushed Sethe and others to subhuman levels of existence.
What Sethe_x0092_s experience with other slaves compel her to define her self-value through her children. In fact, in her new home after slavery is banned, she is fond of stealing food from the restaurant rather than lining up like other people in the neighborhood. Sethe_x0092_s efforts to discard the memories of slavery experience are confronted by the reincarnation of the eponymous beloved whom she tries to impress by giving in to her demands. Sethe also do not believe in future much due to the amount of suffering she came through:_x0093_Today is always here,’ said Sethe. ‘Tomorrow, never_x0094_ (Morrison, 59). In essence, in as much as Sethe try to break bond with her past, reemergence of the ghost of beloved is a stark reminder of inexplicable past suffering: _x0093_[says Paul D], “me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.” (Morrison 114).
It can also be noted that Sethe eventually decides to completely disengage from answering to the calls of Beloved when she disappears into the thin air as Mr. Bodwin comes. The connection with the past can also be seen when Sethe runs fiercely to strike Mr. Bodwin with ice pick mistaking him with the schoolteacher. In this scene it is evident that Sethe is still bitter and remembers her past quite well. Sethe is the main protagonist and her slavery experience and encounter with the ghost helps to develop the storyline full of the complex themes and literary techniques of writing. Besides, Sethe is representative of the oppressed Black voices that weathered the humiliating slavery in the US
In Khaled Hosseini_x0092_s book, Amir has a bitter past that he can_x0092_t delink himself from. While he narrates his history from California, United States, it is clear that his present is a development of the past (Hosseini 46). In childhood Amir had a father who apparently had a son with his servant_x0092_s wife. The boy is Hassan. While Amir tried to relate with his father, there was an evident gap, which is attributed to the social beliefs that a child that kill his mother at birth is a bad omen.
Amir_x0092_s narration also explores the fact that discrimination based on ethnic background play key role in the Afghan society. In the transition from kingship to democracy and the invasion of Soviet, Amir has had a lot of bad experience to forget. Amir_x0092_s effort to revive the psychological stability of Sohrab awakes memories of the past. It is noted that one character Asef, who raped Hasan, did the same to Sohrab under the new democratic regime lead by a president. The difference is that Asef is employed as a security official and feel immune to any government sanctions for committing atrocities such as rape. In fact, he beats Amir until he is admitted to the hospital. However, Amir feels that receiving such a beating has helped in cleansing his guilt and conscious in satisfying the wish of his father. At one point it is noted that Amir_x0092_s father tells him to stand up for himself. In other words, self-defense is a critical tool for personal growth in Afghan community.
While Amir makes frantic efforts to redeem himself as his father expected, he also has to deal with difficult circumstances concerning Taliban to take Sohrab. The second encounter with Asef is symbolic representation of human past and is likely to live with him into the present and even future (Hosseini 89). _x0093_It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…_x0094_ (Hosseini, 211)
In essence, the current California residence of Amir and his family is an outcome of a series of the socio-economic and political oppressions in his home country. Although he escapes with Sohrab, the rib injuries and mouth scars will live with him into the future constantly reminding him of the dark past in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Amir is a major character and his narration builds up the plot_x0092_s essence. His memories blend in with his current life. Besides, his experience explores the cultural challenges that characterize average Afghani. The following quote addresses the issue of past and memories most accurately:
_x0093_That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past. I’ve learned how you can bury it because the past claws its way out._x0094_ (Hosseini, 161)
Comparative analysis of the characters discussed in the two literary works reveals the fact that past experiences that influence one_x0092_s life cannot easily be forgotten. While there are claims of focusing on the future and shedding the dark past, the two authors although address completely different themes and show ideological convergence in terms of how past cannot be erased. The values developed by the main heroes are a cumulative result of their past experiences.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. Bloomsbury, 2011.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved: A Novel. Vintage International, 2004.