Free Study Guide: Beloved by Toni Morrison|
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FREE BOOK NOTES FOR BELOVED BY TONI MORRISON
Although Beloved returns to earth in an adult body, she is still a child in the other world. She refers to herself as small and remembers events from her childhood. She can still see Sethe's earrings and reflects on the day that Sethe carried her to the grape arbor and gathered flowers into a basket while her brothers played on the hill. Beloved also seems to have looked into the lives of other earthly beings. When she talks about the small animals looking at a child, it seems to be a reference to Denver's terrifying time in jail when rats stared at her and sometimes touched her.
In the other world, Beloved longs to be recognized by her mother. She
imagines going down to see Sethe and being chewed and swallowed by her.
Somehow she manages to escape and swim through the water back to the other
world. Upon her return, she can still see Sethe's smiling face.
This chapter is a continuation of the previous surrealistic one. Beloved is till the first person narrator, speaking from the other world. She thinks about Sethe, who picked flowers "in the place before the crouching." She is convinced that Sethe was about to smile at her when the men without skin came and shoved the dead into the sea. Sethe, however, went into the sea without the men pushing her. Beloved found and then lost Sethe's face in the water under the bridge. When she saw Sethe coming to her, she wanted to join her. Beloved tried to reach Sethe, but her mother floated away, up to the light above the water. Beloved followed Sethe and came to her house. When she sees Sethe, she is smiling at last. Beloved is determined not to lose Sethe again.
A voice asks Beloved if she came from the other side and if she came back because of Sethe. Beloved answers yes. The voice tells Beloved that she is safe, for the men cannot hurt them any more. Another voice talks to Beloved and describes how they played by the creek in the quiet time. The voice says she can give Beloved dreams. Beloved says that when she dreams, Sethe "chews and swallows" me. When she laughs, "I am the laughter." The voice tries to comfort Beloved and promises that "Daddy is coming for us."
The voices then speak together and claim Beloved as sister and daughter.
They say, "You are my face; you are mine." One says, "I
brought you milk;" the other says, "I drank your blood."
One voice adds that she has her milk; another adds that she has her smile.
Then the voices repeatedly chant, "You are mine." In the end,
the voices promise Beloved that she will not be left again.
This chapter becomes a stream of consciousness narrative among Sethe, Beloved,
and Denver. There is no indication of who is speaking or thinking except
for the content of the message. Each of the three voices repeats the concerns
that they have previously expressed. It is only in knowing the characters
and what has happened previously in the book that the reader can distinguish
which lines belong to which character. There are things, however, that
hold all three of them together; they crave an escape from their pasts,
and they have an extreme need for emotional nourishment - to feel secure
and loved. All of their voices merge in the last three lines, "You
are mine; you are mine; you are mine." The repeated phrase becomes
a benediction to salve their pain.
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. 09 May 2017