The Literal, Mythological, and Biblical symbolism in Beloved.

Essay by Lisamj3783University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Lisa Lordan


December 17, 2003

Diane Harper

The Literary, Religious, and Mythical Significance of Beloved

In the novel Beloved there are several literary, religious, and mythical meanings. The designations fundamentally represent the main characters, their actions and their destinies. The depth of the meanings contribute extensively to the characters Beloved, Sethe, and Paul D., throughout the entire novel and as the story progresses the depiction becomes stronger and correlates to each character, moreover, to the lives the main characters lead and how they intertwine with each other.

Beloved is the title of the novel, Sethe's 3rd daughter, and the human visitor. Each Beloved has powerful symbolism. One of many definitions of beloved is to be loved and is associated with a divine being. In mythical and religious folklore, they frequently use the word to describe a person that has an obsession of some sort which generally results in death.

According to Harper, people who are obsessed will not rest until the object of obsession is theirs and due to the fact the object is usually human and unwilling to submit, it leads to defeat. Although the literary meaning is articulated, it is commonly used in religions to describe a patron or a supernatural being.

The infant ghost, Beloved, haunts the residence of 124 Bluestone Road. Ominously, infant is given the name Beloved on her tombstone because Christians commonly relate the phrase "dearly beloved" to the deceased. Sethe sets the word on the tomb unaware of its connotation. Over time Sethe is manipulated by the white Christian community, more importantly because blacks were generally thrown into mass graves. Equally significant is that she wanted her daughter to have a dignified burial and for this the white gravedigger demanded sex. Since he ejaculated quickly he told her that all she got...