Inescapable Hauntings in Caleb Williams and Beloved College

Written almost two hundred years apart, William Godwin’s Caleb Williams and Toni Morrison’s Beloved convey stories in which the characters attempt to find freedom by fleeing from unfair oppression and the haunting remnants of oppression. Caleb Williams, the titular protagonist of Godwin’s novel, attempts to escape from the persecution of his cruel master, Falkland, while Sethe, the protagonist of Beloved, successfully escapes from the imprisonment of slavery. It is important to note, however, that Caleb’s persecution by Falkland, while unjust, was based on Caleb’s individual actions and could have been avoided. In the end, he is capable of using legal action to free himself and escape the fate he once saw as inescapable and ends up haunted by nothing but a guilty conscience. Sethe, on the other hand, was born into her oppression, and even after escaping slavery she is still haunted, figuratively by her the negative perceptions of her race that pervade the nation, even in the free north, and quite literally by the ghostly reincarnation of the daughter she killed to save from a life of slavery. Even though Sethe is able to escape the literal haunting when the ghost is banished, she and her family will not be able to escape the...

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