The story begins when Paul D., a man from Sethe's past, shows up on their porch
The tone of the novel Beloved is dark.
One example of how Morrison sets the tone occurs
when she writes about Sethe's soul.
She writes, "Counting on the stillness of her own soul,
she had forgotten the other one: the soul of her baby girl" (Morrison, p. 5). The story that
unfolds is that of a murdered child.
Morrison forces the reader to come to terms with its
unholy facts and non-facts.
Morrison suggests through her writing that there was more than
one wrong committed. Slavery was the real culprit behind a child's death.
rough the different voices and memories of the book, including that of Sethe's mother, a
survivor of the infamous slave-ship crossing, we experience American slavery as it was lived
by those who were its objects of exchange, both at its best--which wasn't very good--and at its
worst, which was as bad as can be imagined.
Above all, it is seen as one of the most vicious
antifamily institutions human beings have ever devised.
The slaves are motherless, fatherless,
deprived of their mates, their children, their kin.
It is a world in which people suddenly
vanish and are never seen again, not through accident or covert operation or terrorism, but as
a matter of everyday legal policy.
("Haunted by Their Nightmares," ed. Bloom)
As we studied the text of Beloved and considered the characters in Morrison's work, we
decided that we should explain who each character is. In addition, we decided a possible
explanation of what each character might represent would be helpful for anyone seeking
meaning within the text.