Paul D, The Journey for Manhood

Paul D the wanderer and heart breaker, in my opinion is the most shady and interesting character in the novel “Beloved”. The man who carried the iron bit, with a heart of a shut tobacco tin.

Paul D was one of the other major characters in the novel alongside Beloved, Sethe, and Denver. As the reader progresses throughout the novel, they slowly learn of Paul D’s past. They learn of his adventurous journey, escaping the chain gang, surviving with Native Americans, following a path of flowers, meeting women, for about 18 years until he arrives at the door of Sethe unknowingly.

Paul D is lost during his 18 years of wondering, searching for love and for his manhood. Growing up on Sweet Home, alongside his brothers, he watched the men around him fall in love. These men being Halle and Sixo who both were able to have their own children (Seven and Sethe’s kids). Paul D admires Halle and Sixo throughout the novel for their ability to love someone when they shouldn’t love anything.

Paul D realizes upon meeting Sethe that she is a woman he can finally settle down with. After their fight when Paul D decides to leave 124 he still stays in town. He thinks and talks to Stamp Paid and realizes his faults. Paul D finally mans up and talks to Sethe on her sickbed saying “You your best thing, Sethe. You are” finally showing some compassion and emotion for Sethe. I believe they continue to live their lives together, with Paul D finally finding his manhood by finding a woman.

One thought on “Paul D, The Journey for Manhood

  1. Jordan SD

    Paul D is quite the character throughout the story but his decision to leave Sethe is what I believed was quite reasonable. Imagine learning that the perceived love of your life attempted to kill all 4 of her children. Wouldn’t you run? I feel that it’s reasonable for Paul D to not feel that safe around Sethe knowing that at any point she could do it again. Even Denver thought the same hence the reason she believed that she had to protect Beloved from her. In my eyes, finding your manhood doesn’t require you to find a woman per se but rather that you grow up from your teenage years into adulthood with a dream of doing something that you love with passion. Now finding a woman, settling down, and having kids can be apart of the dream, however, I don’t believe it’s the core to finding your way into manhood. Paul D’s dream was settling down with Sethe and by the looks of how the rest of the story turned out, that was his only dream. So yes, I do say that Paul D reached his gateway to manhood.


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