Study Guide

Beloved Family

By Toni Morrison


Slavery and families just don't go hand-in-hand. See, slaveowners weren't in the business of helping slave parents and kids stay together unless it somehow benefited the slaveowners, too. Beloved is full of broken families, orphans, and dysfunctional relationships. Do the slaves form new kinds of families? Or are they left to fend for themselves?

Questions About Family

  1. How does Sethe's mothering impact Denver?
  2. Why can't Sethe, Paul D, and Denver stay together once Beloved enters the picture?
  3. Are Beloved and Sethe really family? How about Paul D and Denver? How do we define family in this novel?

Chew on This

Sethe's sacrifice was just an attempt to protect her family.

In Beloved, family has nothing to do with blood relations.