Amy Denver: The White Woman of Beloved College

It seems strange that of all the characters in Beloved, that Nicole Coonradt would focus on the white woman. Amy Denver is not a woman that is terribly prominent in the narrative and in fact, it’s extremely easy to forget her in the interaction between Sethe, Paul D, Beloved and Halle. Even if Amy represents an interaction between white people and black people that is not dominated by slavery, she seems like a strange choice for an entire paper. Even if Coonradt is correct in stating that Amy “contrasts sharply with the dark Sethe to highlight her distinctive characteristics” (169) why should Amy become the focus of an entire essay? Yet Coonradt explains that Amy Denver is the bridge between black and white, destruction and renewal - assertions that all reward close examination.

The Name

Coonradt’s first point is the fact that Amy’s name means Love in Latin – in fact, it’s short for the Latin Amatus which means beloved. When the ghost of the dead child comes back to live, she doesn’t really have a name since she died before she could get one. Her name becomes Beloved through her integration into the family. Coonradt cites several places within the novel where love becomes a monstrous concept in the overarching institution of...

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