Beloved Study Guide

Beloved Study Guide

Original title:

American literary history wouldn’t be the same if Toni Morrison didn’t write this legendary “Beloved” novel. It is partially based on a real story of an enslaved woman who fled Kentucky to escape to freedom, not without terrible sacrifices and consequences. 

It’s a fascinating plot that will keep you reading for hours. The setting of the book is symbolic: right after the Civil War. The story is full of the grief: the grief of a person, the grief of a race, the grief of a society, the grief of a century that still finds its aftershocks in our lives today. 

The reader meets the heroine of the book, former slave Sethe, at her home in Ohio. The house is haunted by a ghost who might be Sethe’s perished daughter. Twenty years ago Sethe fled from slavery and made it to a one of the Northern states. She was there with her three children, two sons and daughter whose name is never revealed. 

When her cruel ex-owner comes to get them back exercising the Fugitive Slave Act, she runs away to the forest. Miserable about the situation, she tried to kill her children to rid them of a life in slavery. If only she knew that a group of abolitionists would save her and she will be condemned to a life in freedom, but full shame…

Toni managed to write a persuasive text that makes the reader an active hero of the story. The language of the book is so eloquent, the characters are rich and multi-faceted, the humor, famous quotes, historical references – the text is a great pleasure to read despite the sadness of the plot.

A winner of Pulitzer Prize and a finalist for National Book Award, the novel is a must read for all. And once you finish it, watch the movie with Oprah Winfrey to discover the depth to which she relayed the feelings you lived through while reading the book. 

New Essays

Beloved: Family and Denver

In Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, Denver is the most dynamic character. She goes through a transformation from a young, shy, sensitive and dependent girl who has little interaction with others into an independent, motherly and courageous young woman. There are many events in Denver’s...

See all essays