Multiple Roles in Life.

Topics: Books

People can have more than one role in their lives; they can be a student, daughter, and an employee all at the same time. These different roles people play have various effects on the society and people around them. In the novel, Beloved, by Toni Morrison, a mysterious girl, Beloved, suddenly appears and changes the main characters, Sethe’s and Denver’s, lives.

Although Beloved’s role in the novel seems ambiguous, it becomes apparent that she is Sethe’s reincarnated daughter because of her uncanny knowledge of past events and physical appearance; she is also a healer who nurses Sethe’s physical wounds and Denver’s emotional wounds, and because of Beloved, Denver and Sethe learn to love themselves.

In Sethe’s past, many traumatic and painful events occurred. Because of the guilt that these events carry, Sethe forces them to the back of her mind. When Beloved appears, Sethe’s process of “re-memory” and healing begins. Although the identity of Beloved is unknown, many events and occurrences in the novel support that Beloved is Sethe’s reincarnated daughter who Sethe had killed.

Beloved Essay

When Sethe first sees Beloved, her “bladder filled to capacity…[and] the water she voided was endless” (61). Sethe’s uncontrollable urge to urinate can be related to her experience while giving birth to Denver, “…there was no stopping the water breaking from a breaking womb” (61). Sethe’s urge to urinate represents her water breaking when she was pregnant with Beloved. Beloved also possesses knowledge that is only known to Sethe and her children.

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Beloved asks Sethe, “Where your diamonds? ” (69).

Beloved was referring to the crystal earrings Sethe entertained her late daughter, Beloved, with. The only reason Beloved would know about these earring is for her to be Sethe’s reincarnated daughter. Finally, the physical appearance of Beloved is baby-like, with her “new skin, lineless and smooth, including the knuckles of her hands” (61), and “her neck… no wider than a parlor service saucer, kept bending” (60). Her soft and smooth skin and her trouble holding up her head are both characteristics of babies.

Finally, the scar on Beloved’s neck is the most apparent evidence of Beloved being Sethe’s daughter. When Sethe killed her daughter, she slit her throat, and Beloved has a scar on her throat. This physical evidence further proves that Beloved is Sethe’s reincarnated daughter. Beloved’s role in the novel is not only as Sethe’s daughter, but also as a healer. Sethe physically heals Sethe and emotionally heals Denver. When Sethe is sitting out on the porch one day, she prays to feel the touch of Baby Suggs fingers on her neck.

Soon, the ghost of Baby Suggs is massaging her neck and Sethe feels comforted. However, soon thereafter the “fingers touching the back of [Sethe’s] neck were stronger” (113), and they soon “had a grip on [Sethe] that would not let her breathe” (113). Denver and Beloved rush over to save Sethe and Beloved beings to soothe Sethe’s bruised neck. Beloved “strok[ed] [Sethe’s] damp skin that felt like chamois and looked like taffeta” (114). According to Sethe “Beloved’s fingers were heavenly. Under them and breathing evenly, the anguish rolled down. The peace Sethe had come there to find crept into her” (114).

The peace Sethe felt because of Beloved’s soothing touch is a result of Beloved’s actions as a healer. Beloved also acts as an indirect emotional healer for Denver. Beloved becomes increasingly possessive and sucks the life out of Sethe. Soon, Denver can no longer tell the difference between them. Beloved’s violent behavior forces Denver to venture outside of 124 for help. Denver has to go “out there were there were places in which things so bad had happened that when you went near them it would happen again…[where] small things scratched and sometimes touched” (286-287).

Stepping out of 124 and into the community was a huge part of Denver’s emotional healing process. Denver’s emotional healing process is the start to her journey to loving herself. Beloved serves as a catalyst for both Sethe and Denver to begin their process of self-love and acceptance. When Beloved entered Sethe’s life, Sethe was overcome with guilt and tried to redeem herself by sacrificing everything she had, including her own identity, to please Beloved. After Beloved leaves, Sethe becomes depressed and tells Paul D that “[Beloved] was my best thing” (321). Paul D disagrees and tells Sethe, “You your best thing, Sethe.

You are” (322). Paul D telling Sethe this began her on her path to redemption and loving and accepting herself. Denver was able to start on this path because Beloved forced her to unite with the community. In the novel, Beloved performs many roles. She is a reincarnation of Sethe’s daughter and heals Sethe and Denver emotionally. Most importantly, she serves as a catalyst for Sethe and Denver’s path onto self-love and acceptance. This self-love and acceptance gives Sethe and Denver hope and the ability to finally move on from their past and escape their painful memories.

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Multiple Roles in Life.. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from

Multiple Roles in Life.
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