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Pages 218–235: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Vashti: Stamp Paid’s now-deceased wife

Joshua: Stamp Paid’s former slave name

Paul D is drinking on the steps of the church, remembering when Stamp Paid finds him in order to apologize for no one in the community offering to take him in (Paul D tells him Reverend Pike offered, but he preferred to be alone), and to tell him he, Stamp Paid, had been present when Sethe killed Beloved and tried to kill her other children. He tells Paul D it wasn’t like he thinks it was. Paul D is full of his own thoughts about the past: the attempted escape from Sweet Home; Sixo being burned and shot; Halle going insane; Paul A being missing; Thirty-Mile Woman—pregnant with Sixo’s child—being sent running by Sixo when it was clear they were going to be caught; not knowing his father; not remembering his mother; his own torture; and the way his heart stopped when Sethe had told him she’d already sent the children ahead and was going to run herself.

Then Stamp Paid tells Paul D how he renamed himself, how his wife Vashti had to sleep with the young master, and how frustrating it had been to Stamp Paid that he could neither kill the young master nor break Vashti’s neck. He asks about Beloved, and together they figure out she is probably the young girl who had been locked up in a house with a white man all winter. When spring came, the man was dead and the girl gone.

Paul D sees nothing in his life but losses and empty spaces until he thinks about Sethe. But he thinks of her as a loss too, regretting the...

(The entire section is 433 words.)