Pages 200–217: Summary and Analysis
Sethe comes to the conclusion that Beloved is the embodiment of her murdered daughter who had no choice but to come back in the flesh since Paul D drove her non-material spirit out. She suspects Baby Suggs helped her return. She thinks over the scratches on Beloved’s forehead and sees them as her own fingernail prints from where she had held Beloved’s head back in order to slit her throat and remembers she had wanted to die when she put up Beloved’s gravestone, but couldn’t—she had other children to care for.
Denver had been afraid of Sethe ever since she can remember, feeling safe only in Grandma Suggs’ room at night. Her brothers, before they left, kept telling her how to kill Sethe if Sethe tried to kill her as she had Beloved. Except for Baby Suggs’ funeral and the day at the carnival, Denver has not left the house nor the yard since going deaf at the age of seven when she had asked Sethe if what Nelson Lord said about the murders and imprisonment was true. She feels she must keep Beloved safe from Sethe this time because Halle will be coming for them.
Beloved describes her journey back to the flesh after existing as the spirit that haunted 124 Bluestone Road and mentions Sethe’s earrings several times. She remembers three frustrations: first, the clouds of gun smoke which blinded her and prevented her from following Sethe; second, when Sethe jumped into the sea instead of smiling at Beloved; and third, under the bridge when she went to join Sethe but, while Sethe came toward her, she did not smile. Beloved has found Sethe now, in this house, smiling.
This is the most complex section of this novel that we’ve dealt with so far. The three women’s “rememories” are interwoven, but it is becoming clear which memory is whose. Sethe is clearly delighted that her daughter is back, forgives her mother, and will stay forever. Denver has lived in fear her whole life and still feels she must protect herself and her sister, whose non-material spirit was HER secret until Paul D came. Beloved feels...
(The entire section is 539 words.)