How is Sethe considered a tragic heroine in "Beloved"?

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Sethe can be considered a tragic heroine because of how thoroughly victimized she's been, and how her various victimizations have impacted her life as a free woman. Not only was Sethe subjected to slavery, a condition which, in and of itself, is unimaginable in its cruelty and trauma, but she has a number of experiences related to her bondage that further victimize and traumatize her beyond her lack of freedom to make most personal choices (aside from marrying Halle).

First, she overheard schoolteacher telling his nephews how to keep track of her human characteristics versus her animal characteristics (a demoralizing and humiliating event at best). Next, she is assaulted by schoolteacher's nephews when they hold her down and "[take her] milk" (an event that is especially traumatizing—even beyond the assault itself—because one of her absolute biggest concerns is having enough milk for her then-baby, Beloved ). Shortly after, she loses her beloved husband, never really knowing what...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 618 words.)

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