What is the significance of Ella and Lady Jones in Beloved?

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both Ella and Lady Jones help to gather community support for Sethe after Denver finally leaves 124 and asks for help. She goes to Lady Jones because she can remember her, and Lady Jones is responsible for alerting the church members about the sad situation involving Sethe's deteriorating physical condition and the debilitating influence Beloved seems to have. They provide food for the family.

Ella literally gathers a group of thirty women to go to Sethe's house, apparently with the goal of getting rid of Beloved to save Sethe. Once they arrive, the women begin to make "a sound," not singing, not yelling, and then Ella "hollers." The volume grows, causing Sethe and Beloved to come to the door to find the cause of the commotion.

When Sethe mistakes Mr. Bodkin for the schoolteacher because of the hat he's wearing, she charges him with an icepick because she is determined no one will take her children. This time she will protect them. To stop her, Ella "clips her jaw," and Denver brings her down.

Both Lady Jones and Ella are community figures who show female leadership and further emphasize Morrison's focus on the role of women in her novel. Initially, Ella is the first woman Sethe meets after Stamp Paid delivers her and her newborn to land; Ella provides some supplies and takes her to Baby Suggs.