Symbolic message of trees casey hannigan

A chokecherry tree's white blossoms.

“A chokecherry tree. See, here’s the trunk - it’s red and split wide open, full of sap, and this here’s the parting for the branches. You got a mighty lot of branches. Leaves, too, look like, and dern if these ain’t blossoms. Tiny little cherry blossoms, just as white. You got a whole tree on it. In bloom. What God have in mind, I wonder" (Morrison 79).

The large, fully-grown tree is a durable, strong, and amazing feat that many do not accomplish. Sethe is a strong woman, which is represented by the size her tree has grown. But there is also a vulnerability to it, as the tree has a large gap from which sap emerges. Sethe's past is like the sap; it is her one weakness in her steely exterior. Her suffering, the experiences her race had to endure, and her child's blood make up the redness within her.

Or perhaps the tree represents a woman broken by the institution of slavery. The tree shows effects of having been beaten to the point where one can no longer feel physically or mentally, driving a woman so far past sanity that she tries to kill her young. The seemingly innocent white blossoms filled with good intentions turn into bloody acts of evil coming from an unsound mind.

"Two were lying open-eyed in sawdust; a third pumped blood down the dress of the main one—the woman schoolteacher bragged about, the one he said made fine ink, damn good soup, pressed his collars the way he liked besides having at least ten breeding years left. But now she'd gone wild, due to the mishandling of the nephew who'd overbeat her and made her cut and run" (Morrison 174).

“So he raced from dogwood to blossoming peach. When they thinned out he headed for the cherry blossoms, then magnolia, chinaberry, pecan, walnut and prickly pear. At last he reached a field of apple trees whose flowers were just becoming tiny knots of fruit. Spring sauntered north, but he had to run like hell to keep it as his traveling companion. From February to July he was on the lookout for blossoms. When he lost them, and found himself without so much as a petal to guide him, he paused, climbed a tree on a hillock and scanned the horizon for a flash of pink or white in the leaf world that surrounded him. He did not touch them or stop to smell. He merely followed in their wake, a dark ragged figure guided by the blossoming plums” (Morrison 112-3).

"And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil" (Genesis 2:9)

Tree of Life: a representation of humanity free from corruption and Original Sin before the Fall.

“Not a tree, as she said. Maybe shaped like one, but nothing like any tree he knew because trees were inviting; things you could trust and be near; talk to if you wanted to” (Morrison 21).


Created with images by danfador - "tree dawn nature" • annie roonie 2011 - "Chokecherry" • Charles de Mille-Isles - "Prunus virginiana, cerises de virginie, chokecherries" • DJ-Dwayne [Returning in 2015/16] - "Dead Trees" • MichaelGaida - "tombstone grave cemetery"

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