Toni Morrison

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Beloved can help.


The main character of the novel, Sethe is an enslaved woman who first smuggles her two older boys to freedom and then escapes with her own baby girl children to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1855. A… read analysis of Sethe


Denver is Sethe’s youngest child. She is quiet and independent, but also craves attention and love from Sethe and Beloved. She loves to hear Sethe tell her about her miraculous birth. Toward the end… read analysis of Denver

Baby Suggs

Baby Suggs is Halle’s mother, Sethe’s mother-in-law, and Denver’s grandmother. Halle buys her freedom before the events of the novel and, after establishing a life at 124 in Cincinnati, she becomes something… read analysis of Baby Suggs

Paul D

Paul D was a slave at Sweet Home along with Halle, Sixo, and two other Pauls (Paul A and Paul F). He suffered greatly under Schoolteacher and also as a prisoner on a… read analysis of Paul D


It is never clear exactly who or what Beloved is. One day, she climbs out of the Ohio River with no memory of where she is from or who she is. She says she comes… read analysis of Beloved
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Stamp Paid

Stamp Paid is a former slave who works on the Underground Railroad and helps bring Sethe to 124 by ferrying her across the Ohio River. Late in the novel, he tells Paul D about… read analysis of Stamp Paid

Amy Denver

Amy Denver is a white woman, who flees from her indentured servitude in an attempt to get to Boston and purchase some velvet. She encounters Sethe when Sethe is almost dying of exhaustion, pregnant, and… read analysis of Amy Denver


Schoolteacher comes with his nephews to manage Sweet Home after the death of Mr. Garner. He is extremely cruel. Not only does he beat and abuse his slaves, but he also takes notes on… read analysis of Schoolteacher

Mr. and Mrs. Garner

The original owners of Sweet Home, the Garners are relatively kind slave owners compared to Schoolteacher (and indeed most slave owners). They allow Halle to buy Baby Suggs’ freedom, for example, and boast of their… read analysis of Mr. and Mrs. Garner


Ella is a black woman who was locked up by a white father and son, who abused her. She is a friend of Sethe, but abandons Sethe after she kills her child. At the… read analysis of Ella


A male slave at Sweet Home, Halle is Sethe’s husband and the father of her children. After seeing Schoolteacher’s nephews hold down Sethe and take her breast milk, he goes mad. The last anyone sees… read analysis of Halle

Howard and Buglar

Howard and Buglar are Sethe’s sons. When Schoolteacher comes to recapture Sethe and her children, she tries to kill them along with her baby daughter, but is able only to kill the daughter. By the… read analysis of Howard and Buglar


Sixo is one of the slaves at Sweet Home. He is remembered for walking more than thirty miles to see a woman. He steals a pig and eats it, and then tells Schoolteacher that since… read analysis of Sixo
Minor Characters
Mr. and Miss Bodwin
Mr. Bodwin and his sister are two white abolitionists, who help Baby Suggs, Sethe, and Denver, as well as other freed and escaped slaves.
Lady Jones
Lady Jones is a mixed-race woman who is a schoolteacher in the local community. She teaches a young Denver and then, late in the novel, helps Denver by getting the community to donate food to 124.
Janey is the Bodwins’ maid. She helps Denver find work at the end of the novel, and spreads the word around town about Beloved, eventually leading to the women coming to exorcise Beloved from 124.
The Thirty-Mile Woman
The Thirty-Mile Woman is the woman who Sixo walks thirty miles just to see. She is with Sixo when he tries to escape from Sweet Home and, while he is captured, she gets away. She is pregnant with Sixo’s child.