In 1873, slavery had been abolished in Cincinnati, Ohio for ten years. This is when Toni Morrison's famous, well-written novel, Beloved was taken place. Sethe, the mother who murderred her child to protect her baby from a lifetime of slavery, has yet to know the true meaning of freedom. Morrison's intense metaphorical writing serves as a constant remember of Sethe's infinitely enslaved life. .
The chokecherry tree shaped scar on Sethe's back was a constant reminder of Sethe's infinitely enslaved life, bound to her guilt, her past, and her horrifically haunting memories. Sethe was just beginning to understand how her past would always follow her where she went, and how it has affected her already. The fact that the scar was on her back was interesting because it was always with her, but she couldn't see it. "I've never seen it and never will," in much the same way, that her sorrow was ever present, but constantly pushed aside and ignored (16). There was graphic detail about the tree, for instance, it had a "trunk, branches, and even leaves. Tiny little chokecherry leaves," (16).
This description resembled an image of life, a blossoming tree, but Sethe cannot feel it "because her back skin had been dead for years," (18). This was similar to Sethe's emotional life, because although she was alive, she had been emotionally frozen or dead, since she murdered her daughter eighteen years earlier. .
Sethe murdered her child to protect her baby from a lifetime of slavery, which has given her a great amount of guilt that she could never forget. The physical appearance of Beloved makes Sethe a slave to her guilt. When Sethe went to the carnival, which was her first social outgoing in eighteen years, Beloved shows up. This was a perfect time for her to surface because it would refresh Sethe's feeling of guilt, not only for killing her daughter, but also for enjoying herself at the carnival. Morrison has created a devilish figure to ensure that Sethe does not get carried away, free herself from her traumatic past, and start a life with Paul D.