Beloved

Knowledge Is Power?: The Influence of Baby Suggs on Denver's Maturity 12th Grade

Each human being struggles with the fall from innocence into experience. But parents struggle with this a second time in a more complex way--they must choose, based on their experiences and wisdom, what is best for their children. Should they protect them from the inevitable harm that knowledge will lead to? What does this kind of protection look like? Is it better to expose them to the evil the world has to offer so they can protect themselves? Each parent must evaluate their options and then decide what to do for their own children. The parents who try to completely shelter their children encounter one of two issues: either their children are emotionally stagnant because of their lack of exposure and cannot truly live, or the knowledge seeps into their children anyways, as no barrier the parents put up is fully impermeable. In Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Baby Suggs takes on much of the responsibility in parenting her granddaughter, Denver. Baby Suggs uses knowledge as a tool in her sermons but refuses to bring Denver into experience, thus causing harm she only reverses when she teaches Denver to use it in the same way she did with her congregants.

Baby Suggs encourages those who watch and participate in her sermons to...

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