The presence of water (specifically referring to waterways such as rivers, lakes and oceans) in African American literature has always been a site a for memory and history (i.e. The Middle Passage*). This trope resurfaces in both the Another Country as well as Beloved.
This is evident in Another Country as Rufus takes his own life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River. One could argue that this is done is in the tradition of the resistance as some slaves in the Middle Passage chose to jump overboard rather than endure slavery in the “New World.”
In Beloved, Sethe escapes from Sweet Home Plantation though in her journey she is confronted with imminent dangers by the Ohio River which is said to be “infected by the Klan (39**)”. Crossing this river safely, implies that Sethe will be closer to freedom. In route to the other side of the river, Morrison notes: “As soon as Sethe got close to the river her own water broke loose to join it.” (50**)
What are some ways water can function in Beloved (i.e freedom, birth, death)? You can feel free to expand on the Beloved example given above or cite other implications of water in the novel as well.
*The Middle Passage was a stage of the transatlantic slave trade in which slaves were transported in bodies of water.
**Pagination is different