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Overbearing Love in Beloved and Secrets and Lies

Children are protected from the evil in the world from their parents, especially their mothers. An excerpt written by Kahilil Girbran, The Prophet, explains one view of the parent/child relationship. “And a women who held a baby against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children. And he said: Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor carries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness; For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable. Kahlil Girbran (17-18) Girbrans view of childhood is very well written. It explain to parents what place their children have their own thoughts and feelings. Their children are with them throughout life, but the children belong to their own life. Throughout childhood the love in the family can be very strong. The bond between a mother and child is almost unbreakable. It is amazing that a person was produced and lived inside a body for nine months. Parents are described as the bows from which your children as living arrows are set forth. Gibran, 17)

Their job is to raise their children to the best of their ability until they are old enough to be on their own. Mothers never want anything bad to happen to their own kids. Sometimes they are not able to let their children grow up like others. They are very overprotective, wanting to seclude their child from danger. In both the movie Secrets and Lies and in Toni Morrisons book, Beloved, overprotective mothers are key characters. The troubled pasts of Cynthia and Sethe caused the mothers to deprive their daughters from personal space in their lives.

The love expressed by Sethe and Cynthia is characterized more by of dependence than by a desire to be free. In Beloved, Sethe lacks experience with love, which contributes to the distant manner in which she treats her daughter. Her years in slavery were very traumatic starting with her childhood. She was the only child her mother kept. Their relationship was very distant because they both worked in the fields. She never knew what it was like to be raised by loving parents. Sethe loves her daughter Denver very much. She is the only child that lives in the house, 124, with her.

She always wants her close by because she was never physically close to her mother for long periods of time. It is a secure feeling because Sethe does not want Denver to experience her abusive past of slavery. Sethe explains to Paul D. , Ill protect her while Im live and Ill protect her when I aint. (Morrison, 45) She protects Denver from the outside world, taking away her freedom to explore her childhood. With Sethes overprotective love, Denver lacks a sense of herself being. She does not interact with many other people at 124, and she does not know what to feel about the outside world.

When a woman named Beloved mysteriously shows up at 124 after Denvers first day out of the house. Denvers reaction to Beloved is very friendly. She immediately took Beloved under her wing. Denver found someone she could relate to. Some of Sethes overprotective love rubbed off on Denver. Denver watched Beloved, not letting her out of sight. Denver learned how to act around new people. Morrison describes one thing that Denver learned in the beginning as, Patience, something Denver had never known, overtook her. (54) Denver never had a reason to be patient, or even impatient.

Her new patience was part of herself that she was just forming. Beloved brought out a very caring and hospitable self in Denver. The individual of Denver is forming independence and confidence that was not received from Sethe in the years before. Sethes protection of Denver is still strong, because she does not want her daughter to be hurt by Sethes past, Beloved. Like Sethe, Cynthia, a character in Secrets and Lies had a traumatic past. That is why Cynthia is a very overbearing person. She lost her childhood freedom when she was sent away to a boarding school after she became pregnant.

Cynthias childhood was a very strict upbringing by her grandfather. Cynthia did not receive love from two parents. It seems as though they passed away when Cynthia and her brother Morris were young. Compared to Sethe, Cynthia was not physically close to her parental figure because she was sent away to boarding school. Cynthia is overbearing to her daughter, Roxanne. She knows that Roxanne can still make the same mistakes she did when she was young. Cynthia does not give Roxanne the space she needs because of that reason.

The lack of space denies Roxanne a sense of self from her family. She does not enjoy her mothers overbearing love and thinks of it as a nuisance. Roxanne is rude to her mother in return, expressing how she wants to be left alone. She does not want Cynthia to be an overbearing figure in her life. Because of her formal upbringing Cynthia kept many secrets from Roxanne. Not only was she embarrassed about her biggest secret, but also she wanted to protect Roxanne from her past. The hardest secret Cynthia had to keep was about Hortence, the baby she gave up for adoption many years ago.

For a long time Cynthia loved Roxanne as her only child and tried to push out the memory of her young pregnancy. When Roxanne was sleeping with her boyfriend, Cynthia tried to talk to her about safe sex. Roxannes response was not positive. She thought Cynthias was being too overprotective. She did not know that Cynthia just wanted her to be safe. The treatment Cynthia received when she was growing up caused her to hold unhealthy relationships. She does not want to be left alone again so she hovers people, not allowing them the space they want.

It causes other people to not want to be around her. When Cynthia begins her relationship with Hortence, it is though it is a fresh beginning. She receives attention from her long lost daughter. It meant a lot for Cynthia that Hortence wanted to meet her. After their lunch, Cynthia chose to meet her daughter again. Hortence did not seem to mind Cynthias overbearing love. She has her freedom from her adoptive parents. Cynthias overprotective love is not a threat to Hortence as it is to Roxanne. Both of Cynthias daughters, Roxanne and Hortence did not know any information about their fathers.

Cynthia tried to protect both of her daughters so they would not be ashamed of her. Even though the meetings of Cynthia and Hortence turned out well, the beginning of their relationship was very rocky. Cynthia blocked out the memory of sex with a black man until she saw Hortence for the first time. This fearful time in her life was not described in the movie, but many believe it was rape. Cynthia described Roxannes father as a good man. She fell in love with him, but he left her when she was pregnant. This is an example of how the love left Cynthia in her past.

When Cynthia opened up to her daughters, it formed a new bond between the women. Hortence brought out the self in Roxanne when after the two women bond. The fact that Roxanne has an older sister brings her more comfort, almost setting an example for her. She has a well-rounded person in her family that she can look up to. Roxanne gains the confidence that she is doing the right things in life. Cynthia had the tendency to put Roxanne down about her job, boyfriend, and social life. With Hortence in the womens life, Cynthia might be less overbearing and overprotective.

The secret of her past is out in the open, and she realizes that Roxanne is a grown woman. Both Cynthia and Sethe are very vulnerable women. They need to protect their daughters so they do not experience the horrible things in life as they did. Their overbearing love caused both of the daughters to have lack of self. When the daughters lack a sense of individuality, they feel as though they cant even think for themselves. Kahlil Girbran describes the thinking process as You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. 17)

Cynthia and Sethe both try to control their daughters thoughts. They tried to restrict them from as much freedom as possible. It was not fair for the daughters to be raised in such an unhealthy, overprotective environment. Both Roxanne and Denver gained their sense of self when their sisters came into their lives. It was the time for each of them to bond with the long lost members of their family. Roxanne and Denver felt that both of their sisters would help stop the dependent and protected love they were receiving from their mothers.

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