“Bottomless” yet again evokes imagery of infinite size, creating a passionate “longing” that cannot be ignored.
However, Sethe’s eyes are never described in response to Beloved’s, depicting a one sided lust, or unrequited love that is present for other characters, namely Denver.
Whereas Beloved’s eyes were “bottomless” and “stretched to the limit” when looking at Sethe, when looking at Denver “deep down in those big black eyes there was no expression at all.
” Denver wants so badly for Beloved to see her and need her, yet it is evident in such language that the feeling is not reciprocated by Beloved.
Yet a hand held out for a penny is still a rather indifferent gesture, an interaction that might happen between strangers on the street, and much different from the infinite emotion that Beloved expresses for Sethe.
Essays On Beloved
In “Beloved,” the eyes, and the reaction to others’ eyes, are essential to understanding the emotions expressed by each character.The slavery from which Sethe, Denver, and Beloved are running, is a social construct that fosters the invisibility of blacks.Slaves are not addressed nor understood as human beings, and a slave is always below the master, preventing any possibility of looking the master in the eye, so as to be on equal grounding with him.Yet even though Beloved doesn’t address her specifically\, Denver feels her “heart race,” illustrating the great power that Beloved’s eyes have in the book.Later in the novel, the relationship begins to change, and once every so often, Denver is able to catch a glimpse from Beloved.The lust depicted by the yearning in Beloved’s eyes with Sethe is very different from the relationship she develops with Denver, evident in her empty eyes.No expression at all” describes an impersonal interaction, one in which there is no recognition of Denver on Beloved’s part.Morrison personifies Beloved’s eyes: “Stooping to shake the damper, or snapping sticks for kindlin, Sethe was licked, tasted, eaten by Beloved’s eyes” (68).Beloved’s eyes become a mouth, figuratively eating Sethe up as she gazes. ’ Her eyes stretched to the limit, black as the all-night sky” (66).As time progresses and Denver and Beloved’s relationship is further developed, Denver comes to understand Beloved’s sentiment more thoroughly.Denver later sees that “deep down in [Beloved’s] wide black eyes, back behind the expressionlessness, was a palm held out for a penny” (139).