A discussion into the nature and function of the character 'Beloved' In Toni Morrison's book of the same name.

Essay by SpaceBuneeA-, January 2003

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Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize winning book is a masterfully written tale. Beloved begins in the late 1800's in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sethe, a former slave, lives with her eighteen-year-old daughter Denver. Sethe's mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, lived with them until her death eight years earlier. Just before Baby Suggs's death, Sethe's two sons, Howard and Buglar, ran away. Sethe believes they fled because of the malevolent presence of an abusive ghost that haunts their house at 124 Bluestone Road and had done for years. Her brother's sudden departure leaves Denver in isolation, in time she forms an attachment to the ghost everyone believes to be the spirit of her dead sister. Sethe is avoided in the community for the circumstances surrounding her baby daughter's death. Dubbed 'crawlin' already' Sethe killed her first daughter to prevent her recapture from white slave hunters. This act has left Sethe and her daughter segregated.

The arrival of Paul D - an old friend of Sethe's from 'Sweet Home' a Kentucky farm where Sethe her husband Halle, Baby Suggs and Paul D were owned - at 124 commences a series of events that lead to Beloved's arrival. Prior to moving in, Paul D chases the house's resident ghost away, which makes the already lonely Denver resent him from the start. Sethe and Paul D start to look forward to a promising future together, until one day, on their way home from a carnival, they encounter a strange young woman sleeping near the steps of 124. This is Beloved; Denver recognizes her immediately as the spirit in her house she used to know and develops an obsessive attachment to Beloved. Beloved also forms and attachment to Sethe, which is equally if not more intense. Paul D and Beloved are suspicious of each...