Baby Suggs acts as a mother figure and stabilizing force for Sethe and Denver. A self-proclaimed preacher, Baby Suggs draws upon the beauty of nature to make the community of ex-slaves recognize the beauty in themselves. She provides a nurturing and healing presence for those scarred by slavery, including Sethe.
When the black community betrays her and doesn't warn her or Sethe about the schoolteacher's approach, Baby Suggs loses her faith in people. She withdraws from the community into an internal world of colors and introspection. Her withdrawal allows Sethe to withdraw as well, leading to a long estrangement with the townspeople. Baby Suggs's influence is vital enough, however, that her presence is felt after her death — not in a haunting way like Beloved's spirit, but in a strengthening way in which her words and attitudes linger in the minds of those who loved her. Her presence helps comfort Sethe even years after she dies, and it encourages Denver to leave the house and seek help.