Beloved by Toni Morrison is a vividly expressed manifesto of freedom to self-identification. The book shows how slavery as an external circumstance can impact the way how one thinks and annihilate individuality. In this regard, Denver plays an important role in the novel as the site of hope for the better future for her mother, Sethe.
The transformation of Denver in the last two parts of the book suggests that hope is possible only with internal changes. When Beloved arrived at 124, Denver understood she needed someone to be devoted (Morrison, 2004). Beloved may symbolize the painful future, which Sethe tries to forget. On the contrary, Denver has become open to analyzing and rethinking the past to build a happy future.
Denver is the site of hope in the sense of freedom to determine one’s own future. Once childish and selfish, Sethe’s daughter seems to recognize that focusing on herself and her own internal world will only lead to self-destruction. Denver brings hope to her mother through her own transformation when she stops hiding in the wooden box (Morrison, 2004). Later, Denver takes care of her sick mother and seems to do this because of motivation to make someone’s life better, but not because she has burdensome responsibilities and obligations. Therefore, the daughter shows that constant ignoring of thorny experiences will not help Sethe to stop suffering.
To conclude, Denver becomes the site of hope for Sethe by showing an example of an internal force able to change the future. Her character demonstrates that experiences, whatever bitter they can be, create the present individuality. Therefore, hope for a better future is possible only when a person can learn from the past and move forward.
Morrison, T. (2004). Beloved. First Vintage International Edition.