The Community in Beloved 10th Grade

Communities are complicated. Each one is more than just a group of people living together in one place: they are supposed to offer their members a sense of belonging and acceptance, yet often ostracize those who are different. Often, they embody and magnify the human flaws of peer pressure and selfishness. The black community in Toni Morrison’s Beloved at times creates a warm and welcoming environment for Sethe, yet more often dispenses judgement and refuses to provide her aid. Community in this novel offers salvation only when the recipient appears vulnerable and in need, and will withhold help from those who are perceived to be too proud.

Before the arrival of the four horsemen, the community endlessly supports Sethe in her escape and recovery. After Stamp Paid takes Sethe across the river, Ella, who is there to meet her, not only brings her food to take care of her body, but also tries to help comfort her mental state as well. She listens “for the holes [in Sethe’s story]—the things [she] did not ask” about her children and reassures her that they had arrived safely. Ella understands what occupies Sethe’s mind, and does what she knows will ease her of her worries. Ella and later the rest of the community take care of Sethe’s...

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