The central character in Toni Morrison’s novel is unclear. At first, the Beloved appears to be an adult version of her murdered daughter, but this is not entirely accurate. She may be a mentally unstable woman who is still alive, or it could be a runaway slave who represents her family’s repressed past. Either way, she forces the other characters to confront their own pasts and make peace with them.
The characters in the novel are complex and complicated. As the story unfolds, we see them in the most intimate places, such as the home. The Beloved stays with Sethe and Denver at home because it is a place where vulnerability is exposed and the heart is open. Denver, however, becomes increasingly worried about Beloved’s safety. As the two get to know each other better, Denver’s concern grows and he ventures outside, where the community comes to his rescue. They are given food, clothes, and jobs by the community, but the commotion ends in an ice pick attack on Sethe’s employer.
In addition to her own history as a slave, the Beloved also represents the history of many generations of black people. As a slave, she acted out the pain and suffering of other people.