The Role Of Trees In Toni Morrison

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The Role Of Trees In Toni Morrison’s Beloved Essay, Research Paper Nature often times represent a unique calmness. Toni Morrison doesn t make anyexceptions to this idea. In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison uses trees to symbolize comfort, protection and peace. Morrison uses trees throughout Beloved to emphasize theserenity that the natural world offers. Many black characters, and some white and Native American characters, refer to trees as offering calm, healing and escape, thusconveying Morrison s message that trees bring peace. Besides using the novel scharacters to convey her message, Morrison herself displays and shows the good andcalmness that trees represent in the tree imagery in her narration. Toni Morrison usestrees and characters responses to them to show that

when one lives through an ordeal ashorrible as slavery, one will naturally find comfort in the simple or seemingly harmlessaspects of life, such as nature and especially trees. With the tree s symbolism of escape and peace, Morrison uses her characters references to their serenity and soothing nature as messages that only in nature couldthese oppressed people find comfort and escape from unwanted thoughts. Almost everyone of Morrison s characters find refuge in trees and nature, especially the maincharacters such as Sethe and Paul D. During Sethe s time in slavery, she has witnessedmany gruesome and horrible events that blacks endure such as whippings and lynchings.However, Sethe seemingly chooses to remember the sight of sycamore trees over thesight of lynched boys, thus

revealing her comfort in a tree s presence, Boys hanging from the most beautiful sycamores in the world. It shamed her-remembering the wonderful soughing trees rather than the boys. Try as she might tomake it otherwise, the sycamores beat out the children every time and she could notforgive her memory for that. (6) Although Sethe wishes she would ve remembered the boys instead, she probablyrationalized this thought because when she asks Paul D about news of Halle, she picturesthe sycamores instead of the possibility that Halle has been lynched: I wouldn t have toask about him would I? You d tell me if there was anything to tell, wouldn t you? Sethelooked down at her feet and saw again the sycamores (8). When Schoolteacher whipsSethe, leaving her back leathery with scars, she

refers to the scar as a chokecherry tree tosoothe and to lessen the physically and emotional pain that the scar represents: Butthat s what she said it looked like, A chokecherry tree. Trunk, branches and even leaves.Tiny little chokecherry leaves (16). While Sethe thinks of trees to heal and calm herpain and suffering, Paul D directly looks for physically real trees as his escape fromeveryday slave life. During Paul D s time in slavery, he chose to love trees for their comfort and calmqualities: … trees were inviting; things you could trust and be near; talk to if you wantedto as he frequently did since way back when he took the midday meal in the fields ofSweet Home (21). Because of these qualities, Paul D chose one particular tree, largerand more inviting than other trees, to

always return to. A tree which he named Brother and a tree that listened and comforted and was always there. But most importantly,Brother represents the comforting escape from slavery which Paul D didn t and doesn thave: His choice he called Brother, and sat under it, alone sometimes. Sometimes withHalle or the other Pauls… (21). After a long day working in the fields, Paul D wouldrest, often times under the towering but comforting presence of Brother with Halle, thePauls and Sixo: He, Sixo and both of the Pauls sat under Brother pouring water from agourd over their heads… (27). Not only do trees represent comfort, they also represent aplace of security, a place for escape from slave life. When Sixo visits the Thirty-MileWoman, he escapes into the secure woods before her