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Beloved - Summary of major characters

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## #BELOVED Introduction: I. Summary of major characters A. Beloved Ghosts In portraying the capacity of the past to haunt individual and community life in the present, Beloved brings into daylight the "ghosts" that are harbored by memory. Beloved, the powerful ghost in the novel, stands for every African woman whose story will never be told. She is the haunting symbol of the many Beloveds. She moves with the freedom of an omnipresent and omnipotent spirit who weaves in and out of different generations. Beloved is rooted in a particular story and is the embodiment of specific members of Sethe's family. It is also at this time where she represents the spirit of all women dragged onto slaveships in Africa. As Deborah Horvitz states, "Beloved stimulates Sethe to remember her own mother because, in fact, the murdered daughter and the slave mother are a combined identity represented by the ghost-child Beloved." from Deborah Horvitz's essay, "Nameless Ghosts: Posession and Dispossesion in Beloved"; Studies in American Fiction, vol.17. Beloved is Sethe's third child, murdered at the age of one and a ghost in 124 for the next twenty years. She is reborn in that twentieth year, but though 21 years old in appearance, her mind is that of a child. Thus, Beloved both seeks Sethe's affections as well as vengeance for a murder she cannot understand. In the novel, she serves both as a character as well as a symbol for the past and the sixty-million slaves killed in the Middle Passage . Beloved talks to Denver about what it's like where she's been -- where it's dark and hot and so small that she had to curl up in a fetal position. Denver believes that Beloved is describing death, and when she asks why she came back, Beloved tells her that she returned to see Sethe's face, that Sethe had left her behind. ...read more.


When the two women came ashore and tend to the baby, they were coming to see "what, indeed, God had in mind." There is reason to be optimistic. The birth of this baby, the baby who will be named Denver, provides a powerful juxtaposition to the story of the baby ghost, and shows hope for the future. c12 Summary As Chapter 9 begins, Sethe is ready to "lay it all down," to let go of her solitary burden. And so she goes to the Clearing to pay tribute to Halle. This is the Clearing where Baby Suggs used to preach and from which she was the center of the community. Sethe remembers "that 124" was full of life and social activity when she arrived after escaping from slavery. Baby Suggs would preach the Word and have the children laugh, the men dance, and the women cry, then reverse it all and do it again. She preached the beauty of life and the invincibility of the bodily spirit when it is given love, a love that black people must give each other to battle the hate whites heap upon them and the self-hatred whites try to teach them. That scene of preaching contrasts in Sethe's mind with the last months of Baby Suggs' life, in which she felt beaten by the whites and just wanted to think about color. Sethe then remembers her travel from the riverbank where Amy left her to Baby Suggs' house. She is picked up by Stamp Paid and brought by Ella the rest of the way. When she arrived at Bluestone Road, Baby Suggs cleaned her feet and back and let her see her children, the boys and the two-year old girl. Sethe has Baby Suggs remove the crystal earrings from her old dress and dangles them for the entertainment of the girl, who surprises her by crawling already. She remembers the 28 days between her arrival and the baby's death as the time when she learned to claim ownership of herself and be free. ...read more.


The Cherokee broke their chains. Paul D, instructed to follow the blossoms (which would keep him going North) found his way to Delaware, where he stayed with a weaver woman for eighteen months. All of these experiences he put away in the "tobacco tin" lodged in his chest, and "nothing in this world could pry it open." Analysis: More of Paul D's painful past is revealed, making clear why his strategy for survival has been to strangle his own feelings. The level of brutality in Georgia far exceeded anything he had experienced at Sweet Home, and showed him how little his life was valued. The relatively gentle treatment he received under Mr. Garner, however, is no argument that there is an enlightened form of slavery. Whatever privileges he enjoyed under Garner were fragile, not his own to keep and protect. After Garner's death, there was nothing Paul D could do to save himself. The image of the tobacco tin in his chest reveals how tightly he holds back all of his memories. Although we are told that "nothing in this world" can open it, Beloved is not of this world Quote Text Those white things have taken all I had or dreamed,' she said, 'and broke my heartstrings too. There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks. Commentary Sethe is remembering Baby Suggs explanation for why she gave up on the world after Schoolteacher came into her yard. Speaker: Sethe Location: Section 1, Chapter 9, 4 pages in Regarding Baby Suggs: "Because slave life had 'busted her legs, back, head, eyes, hands, kidneys, womb and tongue,' she had nothing left to make a living with but her heart-which she put to work at once" Regarding Baby Suggs: "She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it. 'Here,' she said, 'in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it" ...read more.

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