Beloved Character Analysis

Published: 2021-07-01 08:21:48
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Category: Character, Beloved

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“Anything dead coming back to life hurts” (Morrison 35). Does anyone have a firm grasp on who or what Beloved actually is? Beloved is the focal point of Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved, but she has also been the center of many debates. Morrison’s depiction of Beloved throughout the novel is unclear and much is left up for interpretation by the reader. Is Beloved the ghostly reincarnation of Sethe's murdered baby, a flesh and blood version of the spirit Paul D. drives from the house? Or is Beloved unquestionably a ghost?
The uniformly accepted notion that Beloved is a ghost is interesting, given that evidence throughout the book suggests that she is a reincarnated being. As the reader recalls, Sethe killed her first daughter with the idea that doing so would free her daughter from slavery. As a result of Sethe’s “motherly” actions, Beloved, enslaves the rest of the family including Sethe’s daughter, Denver. The family becomes disconnected from and outcasted by the black community, as everyone fears approaching the residency “haunted” by the supernatural.
As the novel progresses, the presence of an unknown girl at 124 intrudes, yet again, on the lifestyle of Denver and Sethe. This character, who is identified as Beloved is ambiguously portrayed and therefore her analysis is the topic of debate and discussion. The character that is recognized at the 124 residency is in fact the reincarnation of Sethe’s first daughter, Beloved. The idea of the reincarnated in this novel is well established. Although, to the reader the possibility of this seems unlikely, in the book there are several examples that point to this being true.

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For example, the reader witnesses Sethe overlook obvious signs showing that this girl actually could be the personification of her murdered baby daughter. Additionally, Beloved is approximately the same age that Sethe’s first born would have been if still alive, and more evidence lies in the fact that she shares the same name as the one engraved on the baby’s tombstone. It happens that these trails of evidence all occur in order in the same scene.
One evening Denver, Sethe, and Beloved are all gathered around a fire, and Sethe comes to a realization about the aforementioned evidence about Beloved. “The click had clicked; things were where they ought to be or poised and ready to glide in,” (Morrison 207). Beloved hums a tune, one that Sethe immediately recognizes. The scene seems surreal as Sethe is taken aback by the occurrence. “I made that song up. I made it up and sang it to my children. Nobody knows that song but me and my children,” (Morrison 207).
Additionally, Beloved’s demeanor is that of a typical two year old. Her thoughts and actions mimic those of a young child rather than a young adult. For example, Beloved deeply loves her mother, Sethe, and is attached to her just as a young child would be. Not only does Beloved share a passionate love for her mother, but feelings are mutual toward, Denver, her sister. Beloved is jealous of the relationship Denver and Sethe share. Once again, these all point to the childish characteristics Beloved possesses in her reincarnated form.
In referring to Sethe Beloved states "I am Beloved and she is mine" (Morrison 248). “It was Beloved who made demands. Anything she wanted she got, and when Sethe ran out of things to give her, Beloved invented desire” (Morrison 240). “When once or twice when Sethe tried to assert herself, be the unquestioned mother whose word was law and who knew what was best – Beloved slammed things, wiped the table clean of plates, threw salt on the floor, and broke a windowpane” (Morrison 242).
Taking all of these factors into account, many would find it hard to dispute against Beloved’s reincarnated state. There are many supporting details that point to Beloved’s true identity. Beloved’s portrayal is in fragments and the reader must pay close attention to give away details about this young woman identity. Unraveling the great mystery of this young woman lies within the text, but yet many different opinions of Beloved still exist.

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