Why does Denver tend to Beloved in Toni Morrison's book Beloved?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Denver tends to Beloved because she is lonely. In Beloved, she is reminded of her sister, feeling as if she has "been returned to her in the flesh." Denver perceives Beloved as being needy, and longs to be the one to provide her protection.

Denver is affected deeply by Beloved from the moment of her appearance. When Beloved arrives and Sethe and Paul D are trying to determine why she has come, Denver is shaking, "look(ing) at this sleepy beauty and want(ing) more." Denver, who is usually stand-offish and reserved, takes the initiative in nursing Beloved, who appears to be ill. In watching her daughter act with uncharacteristic patience and extreme compassion, Sethe reflects that Denver "has been lonesome...very lonesome." Denver discovers that Beloved likes sweets, and delights in feeding her. She also "worrie(s) herself sick trying to think of a way to get Beloved to share her room,  

"so that they can have "talks...at night when Sethe and Paul D (are) asleep; or in the daytime before either (come) home...sweet crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be."

In Beloved, Denver sees a sister, someone with whom she can bond, and escape her loneliness.