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Role of Sixo in Beloved


Toni Morrison’s unique Beloved includes lots of secondary characters, of which among the most substantial is the character of Sixo. Though the novel is based in post-Reconstruction America, much of the content is in the form of memories of ex-slaves. It remains in these memories that the character of Sixo is revealed. Both Sethe and Paul D were among six servants that lived at Sweet House, the remaining 4 of which are long considering that gone yet reside on in their memory. Morrison seems to have planned Sixo’s name and roots to be uncertain to represent a sense of “everyman” in him. In addition to this representation, there are a number of Christ-like parallels that can be drawn from Sixo’s character. Though just a small character, Sixo is agent of a larger slave ideology that is apparent in Morrison’s representation of him.

The name Sixo is extremely essential for a variety of factors, the most popular being found in the commitment in the front of the book. It checks out, “Sixty Million and more.” By calling a character Sixo, Morrison is paying homage to the variety of slaves that were in America which is what the dedication describes. This is especially significant due to the fact that Sixo includes the ideology and has the obscurity that makes him an excellent representation of those people as a whole. The number 6 is likewise representative of the variety of slaves there are at Sweet Home. He is the sixth and of the males he is the only one without a last name. For instance, in the start of the book they are presented as “Paul D Garner, Paul F Garner, Paul A Garner, Halle Suggs and Sixo, the wild man.” (11) Both having a number for a name and not having a last name offers an impression of anonymity. This provides to the argument that Sixo is representative of the slave population as a whole. He doesn’t take the owner’s name as the Pauls do and has no household to take the name of as Halle does. This highlights his rootlessness and, in a sense, his uniqueness. In addition, calling him “the wild guy” evokes commonly held understandings of indigenous peoples which is more applicable to Sixo representing any enslaved person.

In a number of circumstances Sixo is explained in such a way that gives his character a sense of ambiguity. For example, twice his skin color is described as “indigo.” (22, 26) The color indigo is a deep, reddish blue color which is not generally related to skin color. This image brings to mind not just the dark color of African Americans but also Native Americans who likewise fell victim to white oppressions. Native American images is used another time in relation to Sixo when he encounters “a deserted stone structure that Redman utilized way back when they believed the land was theirs.” (25) This juxtaposition of a slave in an abandoned Indian ruin recommends a strong connection in between the two and is a powerful image. Though not implying that he has a Native American background, there is another aspect of Sixo that makes his roots suspect. Several times there is reference of Sixo speaking another language that is foreign to the other slaves. This obviously might be an African language however it is never explained. It is this obscurity that makes Sixo’s character one that might fit any of the cultures that have been oppressed and oppressed.

Sixo represents the ideology of liberty. Of all the servants, “he was the only one who sneaked in the evening.” (107) This sets him apart from the others due to the fact that he knows what is beyond Sweet Home. He has a much better sense of what flexibility is and he desires it. He is never pleased being a servant. For example, when their master Mr. Garner dies, Sixo is “the just one of them not sorry to see him go.” (231) Though the other servants feel fortunate to have a good owner like Mr. Garner, Sixo understands that it is not right to be owned at all. His understanding offers him a specific quantity of flexibility and likewise draws attention to the ignorance of the other slaves. When the Paul D marvel why Mrs. Garner sent for the schoolteacher to come to Sugary food Home, Sixo plainly says, “She require another white on the place.” (231) This is obvious to Sixo though not to the others. The requirement to get away is likewise obvious to him–“It was Sixo who brought it up.” (206) The others haven’t even considered this possibility. He arranges whatever and in this method attempts to conserve his individuals.

The concept of Sixo as savior calls to our attention the Christ-like imagery in regard to Sixo’s death. On the night of the escape when everything starts to go wrong, “Only Sixo appears, his wrists bleeding, his tongue licking his lips like a flame.” The bloody wrists evoke the crucifiction of Jesus Christ since of the nails he had through his wrists. It also represents Sixo as a martyr. This may, like his name, be a homage to all individuals who passed away in slavery. Upon being captured, the Christ-like images continues as he is strung up to a tree and tortured while still alive. He is not in discomfort since he is lastly free. The idea of freedom upon death transcends the pain and “By the light of the hominy fire Sixo straightens … He chuckles. A rippling seem like Sethe’s boys make when they topple in hay or splash in rainwater.” (238) The image of the children is one of real freedom due to the fact that of their innocence. Sixo’s laugh is one of the most persistant images in the novel due to the fact that it is engrained in Paul D’s memory. Therefore it is duplicated throughout the novel just to be described at the end. This makes it a much more powerful image because something connected with delight is brought about by the most horrific scenarios.

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