Community in Beloved

In Beloved by Toni Morrison, community plays a large role in the characters lives. The black community in Cincinnati acts as a salvation for ex-slaves, while the underground railroad acts as a support network for escaping slaves. These two communities are most prominently seen throughout the novel.

When Paul D is in the depths of slavery and is in his “chain gang”, him and the other prisoners around him find a way to escape together. The only way in which they are able to escape is because of the fact that they are all together, and because of the community and support provided by the underground railroad. Essentially the underground railroad is a network of people all working under the same community and fighting for the same cause-freeing slaves.

One key example of a community coming together is also seen when Baby Suggs coordinates for the whole black community of Cincinatti to provide food for Denver and Sethe when they are in need. This sense of community is even further seen when a large group of women basaically stand in front of Sethe’s home in an attempt to exorcise Beloved from the home.

Community is essential in anyone’s life, however, I believe that it is especially essential for ex-slaves trying to form a new life after slavery. In Beloved, community is what the characters fall back onto when they are in need. Without community, there definitely would not be any surviving slavery, along with the after effects of slavery.

4 thoughts on “Community in Beloved

  1. EMILY I

    I agree that community plays a major role in forming a new life after slavery. As a community, they are able to build a sense of trust, which links their common struggles. Going back to my post, I believe that storytelling also helps ex-slaves build a sense of community because it sort of acts as a coping mechanism by allowing them to move on from their past memories and move them toward a better future.


  2. mfriedman62

    I really like how you focused on the often underappreciated aspect of community in Beloved. In any environment, especially unknown and harsh ones, community can make a life changing difference for one’s situation. Your example of Baby Suggs rallying the black community of Cincinatti to support Sethe and Denver is an example of the power of a community that cares about its members.


  3. Jack B

    Overall, I liked how you provided a different outlook on the situation of characters and connected it to a community. With your line, “Community is essential in anyone’s life, however, I believe that it is especially essential for ex-slaves trying to form a new life after slavery” this is very essential to Morrison’s writing.


  4. Danny K

    I agree with your point of community being essential to flourish after escaping slavery. This point is easily seen in examining Sethe’s life. When Sethe joins Baby Suggs’s community she begins to thrive among the community with her children. She starts to experience a life of a free black woman, surrounded by those in a similar situation. A month after her arrival, she is shunned by those she has related herself to for her actions upon the arrival of the schoolteacher. Her world changes that day, for her only community henceforth is herself and her daughter Denver. Morrison shows that Sethe’s world without her community is a dark, lonely and small place stunting the development of Denver and the healing process for Sethe’s past.


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