From the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison i need to answer How does Paul’s D concern with his masculinity cause him to act in certain ways throughout the novel

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20 February Character Analysis of Paul D in Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” “Beloved” (1987), written by Toni Morrison is a post Civil War novel, which has won the coveted Pulitzer Prize and is also a critically acclaimed work, inspired by the true life of “Margaret Garner, an escaped slave” (Elbert 38). It tells the story of Sethe, a slave woman, who kills her daughter, Beloved, to put her in a place where she would be safe from the masters. Paul D, a fellow slave with her in Sweet Home, the plantation in Kentucky where they work, is another prominent character in the novel. Paul is the person who instills hope in Sethe who is haunted by her past. Though kind and optimistic, Paul D remains concerned with his masculinity and this causes him to act in certain specific ways throughout the novel.
Morrison uses Paul D’s concern with his masculinity to subtly allude to the attitude of the male members of the African American community and their expectations of how females need to act. The author portrays Paul as a character, who really loves and cares for Sethe. However, while he feels “proud of her” on the one hand, he becomes “annoyed by her” on the other when he realizes that she did not need either her husband or Paul to go through her delivery (Morrison 4). His annoyance derives from his concern for his masculinity due to which he believes that Sethe must depend on him or her husband for the delivery.
Paul D’s masculinity can be seen as a dominating trait in him even in the scene when he first arrives at Sethe’s home after several years and she starts cooking for him and he says “Don’t go to any trouble on my account” (7). This dialog manifests his concern and love for Sethe on the one hand and he is prepared to quit a meal lest he gives any trouble to the woman for whom he cares a lot. However, on the other hand, it transpires that his reaction to her invitation also stems from his concern for his masculinity due to which the idea of a female taking a trouble for a male like him does not appeal to him.
More significantly, in the context of the story’s theme, it can be seen that the storyline basically relies on Paul D’s knowledge of his masculinity. He is a person who has always known his value as a “laborer who could make profit on a farm” (120). Thus, he takes pride in his own strength and the ability to work. This, perhaps, is the power that imbibes in him the quest for freedom, which ultimately culminates into the attempted escape. In addition, he nourishes a desire in him to save Sethe from her problems and also drives out the evil from her life. His sense of purpose in protecting the person he cares for also derives from his feelings about the importance of his masculinity which motivates him to shelter the woman he loves.
Thus, overall, the concern of Paul D over his masculinity is the most significant factor that acts as the motivation for this character. Right from the beginning of the story, this trait in him makes him act in certain ways that decides the storyline of the novel. His love and caring for Sethe, his desire to protect her and finally live her a life, all derive from the fact that he honors his masculinity and takes it upon him as his duty to care for the women he loves.
Works Cited
Elbert, Monika M. Toni Morrison’s Beloved (1987): Maternal Possibilities, Sisterly Bonding. Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender. Fisher, Jerilyn &amp. Silber, Ellen S (ed). 2003. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Web. Morrison, Toni. Beloved. 1987. London: Vintage Classics. Print.