Being a man is anything but simple in Beloved. Our leading men have some complicated relationships with women and with themselves. In order to prove their masculinity, men want to own things. So not owning anything—including themselves—leaves the male slave vulnerable to some pretty serious psych issues. Oh, and to baby girls who've come back from the dead.
In Beloved, a man is only worth something if he's "claimed" by someone else—a mother, a wife, a child, or a friend. Otherwise, he just won't have a meaningful life.
In Beloved, a real man is someone who resists authority and does his own thing.