Analysis of Works and The Concept of Beloved

Categories: BelovedSymbolism


With love comes trust. Paul D sees the trees as something he can trust, something you can go to when you need reassurance or support. Trees are also become a sign to a second life for him especially when the Cherokee directed him to follow the blossoming trees all the way up to Cincinnati and 124. With love comes comfort and safety. For Denver the trees or bushes symbolize a sense of safety. For instance her five boxwood bushes was a place where Denver's imagination produced its platform, which she badly needed because loneliness took over her Trees have a totally different meaning for Sethe, whose back Amy Denver calls a 'chokecherry tree'.

Her tree is more a sign of the past that she doesn't like being reminded of. Actual trees also bring up deep dark thoughts for her, like the dead-man when she thought Paul A was hanging from the tree. At times love can bring pain, people love something or someone that they shouldn't.

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Or one has experienced love at one point that did not have the desired outcome creating unbearable memories. Trees hold a different meaning for all three characters as all three of them have experienced different things in life and have a different mental standing.


Each color has a different connotation to it. The darker the color, usually the duller the emotion associated with it. Each color holds its own specific meaning. The color red shows up throughout the novel. It carries different meanings when it goes with different situations and objects.

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Amy's red velvet, for example, stands for hope and future. She described the velvet to Sethe as something "like the world was just born" and "clean and new and so smooth", and therefore the velvet represents a new life. When one is receiving love while going through a rough time from family or someone who has their best interest, it encourages them to take a step that will better their life. Love expresses many emotions and characteristics such as protection, flirtation, concern, and more. In this case, there was a sign of concern or more of a hope of Sethe having a new life.


The 124 was a place where majority of the characters had their ups and downs. It was place that impacted the characters for the rest of their lives. It was a place that contained a haunted side, a feminine side, and a party side. 124 was haunted with beloved's ghost. Baby Suggs moved to 124, Mr. Bowdin, the owner remembers a women died in there, and it does seem like the house's moods follow Beloved's presence at 124. Beloved was called "spiteful" because of her ghost, "loud" when she fights with Sethe, and "quiet" when she leaves. Looking at it from all angles, 124 was a place that brought everyone together, whether it was in a positive or harmful manner. 124 is also a place that resembles sethe's children that have survived, 124 the birth order of the living children excluding the third being, Beloved.


"124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughters Denver were its only victims".

Tobacco Tin

In today's society, majority of the people associate the abstract idea of love with the tangible human organ, the heart. Why? As one prepares for something exciting, their heart rate increases. The heart is the center of emotion and love is one of the biggest emotions a person will experience in their lifetime. Paul D however replaces his heart with a tobacco tin filled with all his struggles and painful memories. The tobacco tin symbolizes the lack of love Paul D has received in his life. The tobacco tin box is not something Paul D can open and face on his own, if he were to do such a thing it would force him to go mad like Halle. He needs the support of the women, Beloved and Sethe in order to realize who he really is as a person.

Red Heart

Red heart from the sound of seems to represent love and passion, however, in the context of this novel it turns out to be the total opposite. Paul D and Beloved's sexual encounter did wake up Paul D's emotion sides but in order for that to happen, he had to drop so low, practically went to the dark side to experience the bright side of his life. As many readers may believe, Beloved came back from the dead which makes it sound like Paul D had sex with a dead girl. In true context, the "red heart" symbolizes the past and death, both of which beloved represents. It also shows that characters in this novel cannot experience love in a normal manner, they are forced to do something inhumane to feel like a typical living person. Perhaps that is what slavery does to its victims.

Works cited

  1. Beloved. (1987). By Toni Morrison. Alfred A. Knopf.
  2. Morrison, T. (1999). Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Vintage.
  3. Gallagher, C. (2018). Toni Morrison's Beloved: A Reader's Guide. Bloomsbury Academic.
  4. Fultz, L. M. (2001). The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism. University of North Carolina Press.
  5. Cheung, T. (1999). Trauma and Recovery in Toni Morrison's Beloved. College Literature, 26(3), 126-144.
  6. Graver, L. (2004). Toni Morrison's Beloved: Contemporary Issues in the Novel. Routledge.
  7. Christensen, P. A. (2012). Reading for the Body: The Girl, the Tree, and the Spiteful Ghost in Beloved. In Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination (pp. 65-78). University of Minnesota Press.
  8. Peterson, N. (2015). The Haunting of Beloved: The Ghosts of Slavery in Toni Morrison's Beloved. In African American Gothic (pp. 65-82). Palgrave Macmillan.
  9. Bloom, H. (Ed.). (2009). Toni Morrison's Beloved (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations). Infobase Publishing.
  10. Terry, M. (2016). The Essential Criticism of Toni Morrison's Beloved. University Press of Mississippi.
Updated: Feb 22, 2024
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Analysis of Works and The Concept of Beloved. (2024, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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