Beloved is the dead baby daughter of Sethe, whom Sethe kills to save her from being taken by the slave owner. As Sethe loves her child, she cannot let her suffer by being a slave. This dead baby comes back to Sethe’s life, in the house 124 bluestone, but as the form of spirit.
Beloved is presented as an allegorical figure. Whether she is Sethe’s daughter, Sethe’s mother, or a representative of all of slavery’s victims, Beloved represents the past returned to haunt the present. The characters’ confrontations with Beloved and, consequently, their pasts, is complex. The interaction between Beloved and Sethe is given particular attention in the book. Once Sethe reciprocates Beloved’s violent passion for her, the two become locked in a destructive, exclusive, parasitic relationship. When she is with Beloved, Sethe is paralyzed in the past. She devotes all her attention to mocking Beloved understands why she reacted to schoolteacher’s arrival the way she did. Paradoxically, Beloved allows and inspires Sethe to tell the stories she never tells- stories about her own feeling of abandonment by her mother, about the harshest indignities she suffered at Sweet Home, and about her motivation for murdering her daughter. By engaging with her past Sethe begins to learn about herself and the extent of her ability to live in the present.