Beloved Pages 20-42: Summary and Analysis
by Toni Morrison

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Pages 20-42: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Sixo: a male slave from Sweet Home who had not allowed slavery to dominate his soul and who was in love with Thirty-Mile Woman

Amy Denver: the white, runaway, indentured servant who had helped Sethe as she gave birth to her second daughter while fleeing slavery

Lu: the name Sethe had used instead of her own with Amy

schoolteacher and his nephews: Mr. Garner’s educated brother-in-law, who had come to Sweet Home at Mrs. Garner’s request to manage the farm after Mr. Garner’s death. He had brought his two nephew with him.

Thirty-Mile Woman: Sixo’s love and the mother of his unborn child

Sethe and Paul D retire to the upstairs bedroom, unable to wait to fully undress one another before they make love. As they wake afterward, Sethe is aware that Paul D is different from Halle, who felt almost like a brother to her since they only saw each other in daylight one day a week—Sunday—despite being married for six years. Paul D is aware of the differences that 18 years have made in Sethe’s body.

Denver tells Sethe of the vision she had while peeking in the window. Sethe knelt, and next to her, so did a white dress with its arm around her waist. They ascertain it was not the dress Sethe made herself from remnants for her “bedding” to Halle and decide it must be a symbol for the spirit’s coming plans. Sethe remembers this discussion as she thinks of the future with Paul D.

Sethe also tells Paul D a little more of her past: specifically, that schoolteacher came to reclaim her and the children, but she chose to go to jail rather than return to Sweet Home. Because Denver was only a month-old infant, she accompanied her mother to jail. Sethe and Paul D decide he will stay, despite Denver’s hostility toward him.

The ease with which Sethe and Paul D come together again after so long seems to be a result of their common history or memories. Their manner with each other now is as it was then, with one difference: as far as they know, Sethe is no longer the wife of Paul D’s friend. The comfort between them is such that they are willing to deal with Denver’s disapproval.

During the intervening years, Paul D had suppressed the part of himself that would have made living under the horrendous circumstances he...

(The entire section is 629 words.)