After reading the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison
Many readers may find them selves asking who Beloved really was. There are basically three answers that would satisfy this question; that she is the actual baby ghost come back to life, a random woman who came to fulfill the needs of the protagonists, and the view of, does it really matter? These possibilities will be discussed throughout the duration of this essay and it will be left to you to decide what you think. In the support of Beloved actually being the baby ghost re-born, you could use the fact that she knew a song that Sethe made up to sing to her children to prove this theory. " 'I made up that song,' said Sethe. 'I made it up and sang it to my children. Nobody knows that song but me and my children' " Sethe pg. 176 "Beloved turned to look at Sethe. 'I know it,' she said." Beloved pg.176 The fact that Beloved knew about Sethe's earrings also adds to this. How she seemed to know all of the right questions to ask Sethe and when she should ask them. Symbolism also factors into this idea. Beloved came out of the water, Sethe had an experience like her water would break in pregnancy when she saw Beloved, and Beloved drank so much water, as an infant child would have to do. Water in this case refers to life and re-birth. A third piece of evidence would be Beloved's appearance; she had soft unwrinkled skin, like that of a baby; "She had new skin, lineless and smooth, including the knuckles of her hands." Pg. 50 Beloved had what seemed to be little wisps of hair across her forehead, these were decided later to be the imprints of Sethe's nails from where Sethe held Beloved to hold her in place in order to slit her throat. Taking all of this into account, it is enough to convince almost anyone that the facts are too great for Beloved to be anyone but the baby ghost reincarnated. While the facts for Beloved being the actual baby ghost reincarnated seem overwhelming there is also the idea that she might be just some random woman. Beloved's appearance at 124 seemed to have impeccable timing, which brought about the question of "was she was a random woman who heard about the family and took the needed place of the baby ghost." Some of the information brought to the aide of Beloved's being the baby ghost can be contradicted in this theory. Beloved knowing the song that Sethe had made up could be easily explained. Sethe or Denver could have sub-conscientiously hummed or sang the song and Beloved could have overheard it. She could have done this with all of the other characteristics she shared with the baby ghost. Such as her liking the burned bottom of bread. A strong piece of evidence in support of this case is the rumor that a slave woman who had been locked up and beaten by her master had gone insane, killed him and run away, not far from 124. Lastly, did it even matter? The important issue here is that Beloved came in and took care of the three protagonist's needs. Beloved cured Sethe's fear of the past, Denver's fear of loneliness, and Paul D's fear of love. Sethe had a constant battle within herself. She was so afraid to "lay down her sword and shield" and forget the past that when her baby she made her baby come back and pay her back for all the evil she felt she had done. Denver was afraid to leave the yard and she needed a companion. When Beloved came Denver acquired her companion and then as time progressed for her safety she needed to leave to create a life for herself. This shattered the protected life she led. Lastly, Paul D needed someone to open up his heart and help him enjoy the love he felt for Sethe. Beloved having sex with Paul D made his "tobacco tin" heart re-open. This act made him feel fury and abhorrence, which in turn made him susceptible to love. So it did not really make a difference who or what she was, she fulfilled! the role she needed to and then left. Beloved's true identity will never be certain. All that can be certain was that she existed to help force Sethe back into the future, Denver into life, and teach Paul D to love. There are three possibilities; it is up to the reader to decide what they think.