Character Sketch of Paul D in Beloved

Paul D was one of the slaves of the Sweet Home farm. His life is a long chronicle of suffering. After the aborted attempt to escape from Sweet Home he was sold off to another slave master, tried to kill him, spent time in jail, escaped from there along with other prisoners, and wandered around the country. The physical and emotional torture suffered by Paul D is hidden and buried in the “rusted tobacco tin” of his heart. He represses his painful and traumatic memories and experiences. He feels that the key to life and survival is not becoming too attached to anything. At the same time, he is quite good at making others, especially women, confide in him.

Paul D reaches 124 and Sethe welcomes him. He is not aware of what has happened to Sethe in all these years. He becomes her lover and stays on, promising Sethe to take care of Denver as well. After Beloved’s arrival, he becomes the object of Beloved’s jealousy. He is powerless against Beloved, who seduces him in an effort to come between him and Sethe. His relationship with Sethe provides him with stability but Stamp Paid’s revelation makes him react without empathy and he leaves Sethe, saying “You got two feet, Sethe, not four”, implying that she behaved like an animal. Ironically, it is Stamp Paid who convinces him to return to Sethe; asking him not to commit the same mistake he did.

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