Discuss the Supernatural Elements in Beloved

Question: Discuss the Supernatural Elements in Beloved.


Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a novel written after the end of the Civil War in Cincinnati in 1873. The novel “Beloved” tells the story of Sethe, a former slave. Sethe lives in 124 with the ghosts of his two sons, Howard and Burglar, a daughter, Denver, and his dead daughter, known as Beloved. As soon as the ghost begins to haunt Sethe’s house, her sons run away, never to return.

Supernatural thinking

When Sethe was a slave, she sent her children to live with her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs. Shortly afterward, Sethe left the plantation known as Sweet Home to join her children and her mother-in-law. When the school teacher finds out that Sethe has escaped, he goes on a mission to find her and bring her back to the sweet home. When Sethe confronts him, she runs into the shed with her kids. She’s going to try the saddest thing. She’s ever imagined killing her kids. Sethe believed that she wanted to see her children dead, rather than living in slavery, as she did. He managed to kill only one of her children, her youngest daughter, Beloved. She was just a child, her age was less than 3 years, but the child suffered some serious hardships.

Haunted by memories

An aspect that is most prevalent in the novel Beloved is the presence of the supernatural theme. All the characters are obsessed with their past. Beloved is seen as another kind of supernatural being, energy, and emotional vampire. Beloved sucks Sethe’s heart, mind, and soul. Sethe is a human being who had been beaten so badly that she has permanent scars on her back. She is the one who escaped from slavery. She killed her child instead of enslaving. So, she is the person whose past is so terrible that it cannot be escaped.

Presence of Beloved’s ghost

Beloved is seen as a supernatural person. Beloved represents the past that returns to chase the present. The interaction of characters with Beloved is very complex. In particular, Seth’s interaction with Beloved. When Sethe refuses to tolerate Beloved’s unacceptable behavior, they end up in a very unhealthy destructive relationship. Sethe is crippled by her past. She decides to devote all her time and attention to explaining to Beloved why she killed her. Beloved permits Sethe to tell the stories about her own feelings of abandonment by her mother, about the hardship, she endured at Sweet Home, and what her motivations were for murdering her daughter. Through her involvement with the past, Sethe begins to learn about herself and her ability to survive in the present.

Symbolic aspects of supernatural Beloved

The character of Beloved is seen as a ghost and is used symbolically supernatural, not only does Sethe’s return to the past haunt her, but slavery, in general, haunts an entire community. Sethe is stuck, she can’t move on from the trauma of killing her daughter in the Sweet Home and her memories. Beloved is the embodiment of Sethe’s past. The supernatural use of Beloved adds to the concept of slavery because it tells us that the past of slavery in American history was haunted, as are ghosts immortal. Trauma caused by slavery is something that will not die, it can be dealt with, but it will never be forgotten. The ghostly presence of the beloved in Morrison’s novel shows the reader that we can always be haunted by our bad decisions and inspired by our good decisions.


In short, we can say that the supernatural elements used in the novel make the novel unique and classic as it represents the spirit of Beloved, how the memories of slavery never fade completely.

SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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