Predominant among Morrison's themes is the presence of evil. The ghost of Beloved — an ironic name that might have had "Dearly" carved ahead of it on the tombstone if Sethe had allowed herself ten more minutes with the gravestone carver — makes itself felt in "turned-over slop jars, smacks on the behind, and gusts of sour air." Later, like a flesh-and-blood poltergeist, Beloved rests under a tree on the Thursday that Paul D, Sethe, and Denver return from the carnival. Shortly after, she creates unsubtle havoc by alienating Paul D from the two women he has begun to think of as family. However, like the table standing on three good legs and a reasonably stable repaired leg, the family, on the surface, appears strong enough to support daily demands.
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