Much like a ghost, Beloved's Sethe is caught in limbo between her past and future. She constantly struggles between the remembrances triggered by Beloved and the opportunities afforded by Paul D. Having never matured into the present, Sethe finds consolation in Beloved, who personifies both the good and the bad of her past. With the re-entrance of Paul D into her life, Sethe becomes aware of the future, but resists moving forward. Accentuating Sethe's strain between the past and future is the constant battle between Beloved and Paul D for control over Sethe. It is not until Sethe conquers her past that she can move into the future.

To Sethe, the encumbrance of her past is comforting. Beloved, as both a sprit and a human, is always with Sethe. As Sethe prays, Denver sees "a white dress knelt down next to her mother and...and its sleeve around her mother's waist" (29). Prayer is an activity in which one finds peace within one's self, but it is not from within that comes her comfort, but instead from Beloved's presence. Even in Sethe's most private, solitary moments, Beloved placates her, all the while refusing to let go, as the waisted arm reveals. Sethe, although hesitant, is perceptive of her...

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