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Word Count: 1,444
In Toni Morrisons Beloved the characters struggle with accepting the horror of their pasts in the world of slavery and moving on with their lives Despite their theoretical emancipation Paul D and Sethe are still enslaved not only by continuing societal prejudices but also their own need for self-preservation A major part of that self-preservation is maintaining their hard-sought emancipation not just from slavery but from any type of bondage Paul D upsets that precarious sense of freedom in his need for Sethes too-thick love consequently he wrestles with the knowledge that allowing himself to love her would mean risking what is left of his strength and risking his license to roam Paul D searches throughout Morrisons novel to preserve his freedom and his red heart stored in a rusty tobacco tin but he nevertheless reaches simultaneously for Sethes love and the conflict between the two--love and self-protection--leaves Paul D in a quandary until finally he discovers that love is the ultimate freedom Paul Ds need for freedom is easily understandable particularly as a former slave and yet his search for true freedom is not as simple as escaping the bonds of slavery Fighting between protecting his tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be and allowing himself to stay with and love Sethe Paul D finds that both his wishes leave something to be desired Paul D knows that entering into a relationship might push them both to a place they couldnt get back from and would let loose all the scary contents of the tobacco tin inside his chest For Paul D Sethes scariest characteristic is her too-thick love It threatens his very theory of existence which is to love just a little Sethes love particularly for her children is very risky For a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much is dangerous especially if it is her children she had settled on to love The best
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