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Guide Mentor

Character Role Analysis

Baby Suggs

Baby Suggs becomes the mother that Sethe never really had. She takes care of Sethe's children, especially after the children start to despise Sethe. She helps Sethe learn to love her body, even if Sethe quickly manages to forget Baby Suggs' teachings. Plus, she gives Sethe and Denver a home even after Sethe kills baby Beloved.

This woman is the one saving grace in Sethe's life. Sethe might not always seem aware or appreciative of Baby Suggs, but—as readers—we can't help noticing how much Baby Suggs, for the briefest while, tries to guide and nurture Sethe and Denver (not to mention, the rest of town too). So that's enough to make her our favorite mentor in the book.

Stamp Paid

Baby Suggs may be great for the gals, but when it comes to men, Stamp Paid is about as helpful as can be.

He's the one who more or less tells Paul D about Sethe's past. You might be thinking—"Wait! How is that helpful?"—but think about it: if you were a guy in a relationship with a woman, wouldn't you want to know how capable of craziness the woman might be? Stamp Paid's just doing Paul D a solid, that's all.

But okay—Stamp also has a conscience and figures out pretty quickly that maybe his meddling isn't all that great. He wasn't looking out for Sethe's interests, which means he wasn't keeping to Baby Suggs's spirit and wishes.

So he finds Paul D after he leaves Sethe, offers to find him a home other than the church, and opens him up to the idea of making peace with Sethe.

Oh, and one more thing. Morrison gives us the biggest clue to Stamp's guiding ways: Stamp guides fugitive slaves across the Ohio River to safety. Need we say more?