Pages 64–85: Summary and Analysis
Mister: the rooster from Sweet Home whose egg shell Paul D cracked so that he could live and who now preys on Paul D’s mind
Mr. Buddy: the possible father, and definite master, of Amy Denver
Paul D is wary of Beloved’s attentions to him and wants her to leave, but cannot ask her to since it is Sethe’s home. As he relentlessly questions her as to how she came to be there, she chokes on a raisin, effectively ending the questioning. She and Denver go to Denver’s room, and Paul D tells Sethe that Halle saw schoolteacher’s nephew steal her milk, which caused Halle to lose his mind because he could not stop them. He also tells her about his own torture with the bit in his mouth and of having Mister, the rooster he helped hatch, free and watching this humiliation.
Denver believes Beloved is the spirit of her sister returned in the flesh and urges Beloved not to tell Sethe. Denver’s advice ends the dancing they have been doing and causes an argument. In an attempt to soothe Beloved, Denver tells her how Amy helped Sethe give birth to Denver.
As the story switches from present to past, the divisions between the two become vague. Denver has no difficulty accepting that Beloved is her sister, although her sister had died almost nineteen years earlier. Paul D finds himself telling Sethe of Halle’s insanity and his own torture as if it were yesterday, not all those years ago. Sethe, herself, wants only to have gone insane then, too, instead of having spent all these years suffering. Beloved speaks of those years without any references to time. The transition from Denver’s telling the story of her birth to Sethe’s giving birth to Denver is so suitable that it seems the two have blended and that time has, too. The blending of time in the novel—past, present, and future (while in the past)—is one of Ms. Morrison’s most successful literary devices. It effectively allows the reader to be inside the character’s mind at all times of the character’s life, not just at the moment or in a memory of the moment, as is usually the case in developing a character.