Character Sketch of Beloved in Beloved

Beloved’s identity is never left in doubt, although it begins as a mystery. She asks Sethe about the diamond earrings she would play with as a baby, and sings the same song that nobody but Sethe and her children know. The scar on her neck, made by the handsaw, and the marks of Sethe’s fingernails on her forehead leave no doubt in Sethe’s mind that she has come back to her from the “other side.” She develops an infantile attachment to Sethe. On an emblematic and metaphorical level, Beloved also represents the legacy of slavery which comes back to haunt and torment the present. She evokes strong emotions in Paul D and Denver as well, changing the dynamics of their relationships.

Beloved is supernatural and represents the spirit of multiple people. Her memories of her past force the reader to wonder if she is really Sethe’s dead infant daughter come back. Beloved represents not only Sethe’s unnamed child but also the unnamed Black people, innocent victims of slavery, who died and were forgotten.

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