Grew Up... a slave. Compared to other African-Americans in pre-Emancipation America, however, Sethe had a somewhat easier life – her masters at Sweet Home treated Sethe well, even allowing her to get married and have children with a fellow slave, Halle. However, slavery is slavery, and when a new master arrives at the plantation, Sethe is left with little choice but to run away.
Living... free, but unhappy. Sethe may be legally free now, but her life in Cincinnati is far from ideal. Ostracized and near-friendless, Sethe lives alone except for her daughter, Denver, and the ghost of her dead baby, who terrifies 124 Bluestone with its "fury at having its throat cut."
Profession... cook and fulltime mother. Admittedly, most of her children are gone, but Sethe is determined to take good care of Denver, her only family left.
Interests... her family, at all costs. Slavery and isolation have hollowed Sethe out, leaving a melancholy, haunted woman in place of an once-vivacious girl. What her trauma failed to touch, however, was Sethe's devotion to her family – especially her children, whom Sethe would sacrifice sun and moon to protect. As she describes it, "It ain't my job to know what's worse. It's my job to know what is and to keep them away from what I know is terrible."
Relationship Status... practically widowed. Years ago, Halle promised Sethe he'd join her after her escape. But the last Halle was seen, he was too catatonic to move much at all. Sethe, however, is slowly recovering from that, with no small amount of help from her former Sweet Home companion, Paul D.
Challenge... learning to live with guilt and trauma. Slavery did a number on Sethe's psyche, and the death of her infant daughter only worsened the damage. With a ghost in her house and her past viscerally returning with Paul's arrival, Sethe must learn to live with her scars before she ends up a ghost herself.
Personality... haunted, both literally and in personality. A hard worker, a caring mother, and beautiful to boot, Sethe could have had an idyllic life, if not for her past and the color of her skin. Now, however, she must learn to confront the cards fate has dealt her – and win.
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