Noun: the state or period of being a man rather than a child (or child-like individual); men, especially those of a country, regarded collectively.
“The restraint they had exercised possible only because they were Sweet Home men - the ones Mr. Garner bragged about while other farmers shook their heads in warning at the phrase. ‘Y’all got boys,’ he told them. ‘Young boys, old boys, picky boys, stroppin boys. Now at Sweet Home, my niggers is men every one of them. Bought em thataway, raised em thataway. Men every one.’ ‘Beg to differ Garner. Ain’t no nigger men.’ ‘Not if you scared, they ain’t.’ Garner’s smile was wide. ‘But if you a man yourself, you’ll want niggers to be men too" (Morrison 12).
The Dehumanization of Paul D's Manhood
Noun: the psychological process of demonizing the enemy, making them seem less than human and hence not worthy of humane treatment; the process of undermining individuality and human attributes.
- This quote enforces the idea that in order for Paul D to feel like a man, he needs to possess some control over his existence. He fears attachment because he's never been allowed to love anything for too long. Paul D is inclined to protect the very few things he has and neglects to love the things that could leave him stranded.
Protective Nature and Family
“There’s a way to put it in there...
... and there's a way to take it out. I know em both and I haven't figured out yet which is worse" (Morrison 84).
“It was some time before he could put Alfred, Georgia, Sixo, schoolteacher, Halle, his brothers, Sethe, Mister, the taste of iron, the sight of butter, the smell of hickory, notebook paper, one by one, into the tobacco tin lodged in his chest. By the time he got to 124 nothing in the world could pry it open” (Morrison 133).
- Another male stereotype illustrates that instead of talking about their emotions and letting them be known, men suppress their feelings and "bottle them up." Paul D accomplishes this by encasing all of his past memories into a tobacco tin heart. In a way, this is one of the only parts of Paul D's life he manages to control. With his feelings secured, he finally possess something that no one can take away from him (that is, until Beloved draws him back into the past and reopens the tin).