Study Guide

Beloved The Home

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The Home

If your idea of home is, say, a cozy three-bedroom with a yard, a spouse, and 2.5 kids, let's just say 124 Bluestone Road won't be your kind of home. Why? Because "home" in Beloved is a haunted concept.

In addition to the haunted house that is 124, Beloved is about the after-effects of slavery in a community of free slaves. That means the notion of home becomes an ideal that is finally in reach yet still unattainable for most of the ex-slaves. A lot of the characters in the book are still contending with the recent past, when slaves were refused the right to own a house, among other things.

In case property ownership wasn't enough of a sticking point, think about the one place in the novel that's actually called "home," Sweet Home, the Kentucky plantation that's anything but "sweet." Bottom line: don't go looking for comfort in the homes of Beloved.

Questions About The Home

  1. 124 Bluestone Road is actually a house that the Bodwins rent to Baby Suggs (and, later, to Sethe). How does renting affect the way Baby Suggs, Sethe, and Denver "make their home"? Does it affect the way they view 124 Bluestone?
  2. How does Sweet Home compare to 124 Bluestone Road?
  3. Why might the address to the house on Bluestone Road be the numbers "124"?

Chew on This

In Beloved, "home" is a space for women, not for men. To become part of the home, men need to learn how to get in touch with their feminine side.

"A house is not a home." That pretty much sums up 124 for you.

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