The only purely evil character in the novel, the schoolteacher is frightening for his detached and methodical cruelty. His pursuit of "knowledge" is especially disturbing, because it demonstrates a rationalization for racism that easily leads to a rationalization for murder. His belief that slaves are nothing more than animals brings to mind the dehumanization of Jews during World War II. Like Beloved, the schoolteacher is not a fully developed character. Instead, he is a representation of the evil in human beings that justifies the degradation of other people and supports murder as a solution to social problems.