Pages 114–147: Summary and Analysis
John: Ella’s husband and also a part of the Underground Railroad
Janey Wagon: a free black woman who washes and cooks for the Bodwins
Paul D is forced out of the house by Beloved. He moves from Sethe’s bed to the rocker, from the rocker to Baby Suggs’ bed, from Baby Suggs’ bed to the storeroom, and finally from the storeroom to the coldhouse. It is in the coldhouse that Beloved succeeds in seducing him over a three-week-period during which he feels his heart come back to life. Denver becomes certain that Beloved was the white dress she saw holding Sethe’s waist in the vision she’d had before Beloved’s arrival. She feels she must continuously entertain Beloved with stories and songs or Beloved will go back from whence she came.
Paul D doesn’t understand why he is having sex with Beloved when he loves Sethe more each day. He decides to meet Sethe after her workday to tell her, but asks her to have his baby instead. She decides, after having brought Paul D back to her bed, that another baby is not a good idea.
In flashback, Baby Suggs remembers the feast for 90 people that had started with Stamp Paid bringing pail after pail of black berries to her and ending with the community agreeing that she is too “uppity”—which they claimed was caused by her abundance of good fortune.
It seems there was no winning for freed slaves. Baby Suggs’ community decided she is too “uppity” since she has her daughter-in-law and grandchildren with her and her son had bought her out of slavery, not to mention the Bodwins’ two-story house (where she lives) and the abundance of food and good times at the feast. They seem to have forgotten the seven sold children she could not locate despite two years of inquiries, and the daily pain of her hip, which had been broken while doing field work. There is no mention of the husband (who taught her cobbling and gave her his name) she hoped had fled to freedom, nor of her 60 years as a slave before Halle bought her freedom, nor is her spiritual calling, her assistance, or her house being used as a meeting place remembered. She’s had these feelings of unease before but they were related to white people, not her own people.