Describe the relationship that slave mothers have with their children in "Beloved." How are these relationships affected by slavery? How important are these relationships?

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kwoo1213 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The bond between mothers and their children is very strong in this novel. The role of mother in the slave community is an important one, filled with love and, at the same time, fear. These women knew that when their children were born that they would most likely be either taken from them or forced into slavery, as well. This was a great source of stress for these women and some killed their children in order for them to avoid being sold into slavery, as we see happen in this novel.  Imagine being a mother, but knowing your children would be ripped away from you and sold to slave owners.  Imagine never seeing those children again.  For me, as a mother, this is a very painful thought!  I cannot imagine the horror and pain these women felt.  As a result, many women felt their children would be better off dead rather than facing years of torture and hard labor.