Bereft (adjective): 1 a: deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something b: lacking something needed, wanted, or expected; 2: suffering the death of a loved one (Merriam-Webster)

Found on Page 78, paragraph 2 of Beloved–>“This girl Beloved, homeless and without people, beat all, though he couldn’t say exactly why, considering the colored people he had run into during the last twenty years. During, before and after the War he had seen Negros so stunned, or hungry, or tired or bereft it was a wonder they recalled or said anything.”

I believe this word in the quote means when Paul D observed Beloved’s nice dress and shoes, he was suspicious of her being homeless because the slaves Paul D encountered were either hungry, robbed, or deprived of something. This meant that Beloved did not look hopeless and she did not look like she was lacking anything according to Paul D’s assumptions.

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