Pages 1–19: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why had Buglar and Howard run away from home?

2. How had Sethe bartered for the lettering on Beloved’s headstone?

3. How had Sethe’s children escaped from slavery?

4. Who had been the inhabitants of Sweet Home?

5. Why had Sethe chosen Halle from all the Sweet Home male slaves?

6. Why is Denver so shy?

7. Why do Sethe and Denver argue?

8. What does Sethe tell Paul D about the spirit in the house and the tree on her back?

9. How does Paul D fight the spirit?

10. Why does Denver resent Paul D for having rid the house of the spirit?

1. Buglar and Howard each had run away from home when he was in his teens, within two months of each other and just prior to Baby Suggs’ death when Denver was 10. They had been scared away by the spirit of their dead younger sister. Buglar left when just looking in a mirror caused it to shatter, and Howard left after watching two tiny handprints appear in a cake.

2. Sethe had bartered for the lettering on Beloved’s headstone by having sex with the engraver in the graveyard, leaning against the pink, glittery headstone she had chosen for her daughter while his young son watched. The engraver had offered the engraving for free if Sethe would have sex with him for ten minutes. She had then chosen the word/name “Beloved” for the headstone wondering, too late, if she could have had “Dearly” on the headstone if she had offered the engraver...

(The entire section is 635 words.)

Pages 20–42: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who was Thirty-Mile Woman?

2. Why didn’t Baby Suggs have her children with her?

3. How had Amy helped Sethe?

4. How would you describe the dress Denver sees kneeling next to her mother with its sleeve around her mother’s waist?

5. What does Sethe remember of her childhood?

6. According to Sethe, what is “rememory”?

7. Why had Baby Suggs been so starved for color?

8. What is Denver’s secret place?

9. What is Paul D’s secret fear?

10. What originally caused him to tremble?

1. Thirty-Mile Woman was the woman Sixo loved. She had lived thirty miles away from Sweet Home, hence, the name. He had tried to walk to her and back in one night. When he realized the walking took all the time he had, he’d found a place halfway and coaxed her to meet him there. Because she had waited in the wrong place and it took time to locate her, he’d simulated a snake bite on her leg so she would not be beaten for being late.

2. Baby Suggs was a slave who bore eight children with six different fathers. The children were constantly being sold. She had no opportunity to say good-bye to her two daughters before hearing of their being sold. She had made an arrangement with the straw boss that she would sleep with him for four months and he would allow her to keep her third child, a son. When she...

(The entire section is 546 words.)

Pages 43–64: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Paul D object to Sethe’s apologizing for Denver’s behavior toward him?

2. Why does Sethe say she would choose Denver over Paul D if it came to that?

3. How does Beloved get to the stump near 124 Bluestone Road?

4. Why doesn’t Paul D press Beloved for more information after she gives her name?

5. What indications do we have that Beloved has become attached to Sethe?

6. How had Sethe obtained her crystal earrings?

7. Why had Sethe made her own “bedding” dress?

8. What materials did Sethe use to make the dress?

9. What does Sethe remember about her mother?

10. What had Nan told Sethe about her mother?

1. Paul D objects to Sethe apologizing to him for Denver’s behavior because he feels Denver is a grown woman and another can’t apologize for her. He wants Sethe to treat Denver as a grown woman.

2. Sethe says she would chose Denver over Paul D if it came to that because Denver is her child, no matter how old, and she feels a mother must always protect her child.

3. Beloved gets to the stump near 124 Bluestone Road by walking out of the stream behind the woods, resting that day and night, then spending the next day going through the woods to the field and eventually into the yard.

4. Paul D doesn’t press Beloved for more information after she...

(The entire section is 562 words.)

Pages 64–85: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Paul D question Beloved so relentlessly?

2. How does the questioning end?

3. Why hadn’t Halle helped Sethe when he witnessed the brutality the nephews inflicted on her?

4. Why does Paul D keep remembering Mister in the face of his torture?

5. Why does Sethe wish she had gone insane?

6. How do we know Denver is assured Beloved is the spirit of her sister?

7. How had Amy treated “Lu’s” back?

8. How had Amy fashioned shoes for Sethe?

9. Why had Denver been born in a boat?

10. Why had Amy left Sethe after Denver’s birth?

1. Paul D questions Beloved so relentlessly because he wants her to leave. It’s been five weeks since her appearance and she is interested in him sexually. He cannot understand why both Sethe and Denver do not see this. Both Beloved’s interest in him and the fact that the other women do not see it is disturbing to him.

2. The questioning ends when Beloved chokes on a raisin. Afterward, she is tired and wants to go to bed.

3. Halle hadn’t helped Sethe when he witnessed the brutality the nephews inflicted upon her because he knew he, himself, could be subdued and possibly killed if he did. His failure to come to her aid was so distressing to Halle that he could not accept it and went insane.

4. Paul D keeps remembering Mister...

(The entire section is 478 words.)

Pages 86–113: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Sethe take Denver and Beloved to The Clearing where Baby Suggs formerly led her spiritual community?

2. What happens at The Clearing?

3. How does Denver know it is Beloved, not Baby Suggs, who did this to Sethe?

4. What had Stamp Paid told the boy when he saw Sethe for the first time?

5. What had Sethe done with her 28 days of freedom?

6. How had Baby Suggs greeted Sethe?

7. Why had Denver left the school and become deaf?

8. What had the prison been like for Paul D in Alfred, Georgia?

9. How had the Cherokee helped Paul D?

10. Who was the weaver lady?

1. Sethe takes Denver and Beloved to The Clearing where Baby Suggs had formerly led her spiritual community because she feels a need for ceremony to lay her burdens down and come to peace with Paul D’s living with her and the information he gave her about Halle and his own torture.

2. At The Clearing, Sethe sits on a rock to pray and conjure Baby Suggs’ fingers massaging her neck. She succeeds, but the massage turns into choking. Denver ends this by turning her gasping mother over on her back.

3. Denver knows it was Beloved, not Baby Suggs, who choked Sethe because she had been watching Beloved’s face.

4. Stamp Paid had told the boy to take off his coat to wrap the newborn baby in. When the boy...

(The entire section is 585 words.)

Pages 114–147: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why does Paul D make love to Sethe each morning before he is seduced by Beloved?

2. Why does Denver enjoy Beloved’s staring at her?

3. What happens between Denver and Beloved in the cold house?

4. How do Paul D and Sethe conduct themselves when he meets her after work?

5. How does he see her pregnancy as a solution to his problem?

6. Why does Beloved think her body is falling apart?

7. How would you describe the feast at Baby Suggs’ house?

8. Why had her congregation shunned Baby Suggs and her family after the feast?

9. Why hadn’t Baby Suggs been able to find her children?

10. Why had the...

(The entire section is 521 words.)

Pages 148–165: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why hadn’t Baby Suggs been warned of the slave catchers’ approach by her community?

2. Why had Sethe taken her children to the shed as soon as she recognized schoolteacher’s hat?

3. How had Stamp Paid saved Denver’s life?

4. Why had the sheriff sent schoolteacher, his nephew, and the slave catcher away?

5. How had Baby Suggs been able to take Beloved’s body from Sethe after Stamp Paid had been unsuccessful at this?

6. Why had Denver been taken prisoner with her mother?

7. Why does Stamp Paid show Paul D the newspaper article?

8. Why does Paul D keep insisting the mouth of the woman in the picture with the...

(The entire section is 574 words.)

Pages 169–199: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How had the community conducted itself when Baby Suggs died?

2. Why wasn’t Stamp Paid used to knocking on the doors of the community?

3. What are Sethe, Denver, and Beloved doing when Beloved begins to hum the song she couldn’t know?

4. Why does Stamp Paid suddenly understand Baby Suggs’ indifference to the world once she’d decided to die?

5. What does Sethe realize about the shadows she had seen at the carnival?

6. What does Sethe remember of the efforts to save her life?

7. Why is Stamp Paid outraged when Ella tells him that Paul D is sleeping in the basement of the church?

8. Why does Sethe pilfer from...

(The entire section is 572 words.)

Pages 200–217: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why had Sethe stuttered until she met Halle?

2. How had Denver drunk her sister’s blood?

3. Why had Denver kept pretending to love Sethe?

4. How had Halle tried to make his mother more comfortable?

5. How had Baby Suggs viewed Denver?

6. Why had the “men without skins” given the Negroes their urine?

7. How was Beloved able to find the house?

8. What does Beloved admit to Sethe?

9. What warning does Denver give Beloved?

10. What accusation does Beloved make of Sethe?

1. Sethe stuttered until she met Halle as a result of having seen her mother’s body when...

(The entire section is 393 words.)

Pages 218–238: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How had schoolteacher changed life at Sweet Home?

2. What had been their plan for escape from slavery?

3. Why hadn’t Thirty-Mile Woman been caught?

4. Why had Sixo been burned and then shot to death?

5. How had Paul D been tortured when he was captured?

6. What does the white stranger tell the two men sitting on the church steps?

7. Why does Stamp Paid apologize to Paul D?

8. Why had Stamp Paid changed his name from Joshua?

9. Why had Stamp Paid gone to see the young master’s wife?

10. What does the red ribbon signify for Stamp Paid?


(The entire section is 603 words.)

239–262: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. When did Sethe and Beloved begin to exclude Denver?

2. What happened to the $38.00 that was Sethe’s life savings?

3. What is Lady Jones’ impression of Denver?

4. How do Sethe, Beloved, and Denver survive?

5. How does Denver become reacquainted with the community?

6. Why does Denver go to Cincinnati?

7. What does she tell Janey Wagon of her home life?

8. What is the job Janey obtains for Denver?

9. Why do the women come to 124 Bluestone Road?

10. Why does Sethe attempt to murder Mr. Bodwin?

1. Sethe and Beloved begin to exclude Denver once Sethe sees the scar...

(The entire section is 506 words.)

Pages 263–275: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How did Sethe and Beloved look standing in the doorway?

2. How was Mr. Bodwin saved?

3. Why doesn’t he realize there was an attempt on his life?

4. How is Denver faring now?

5. Why does Paul D come back?

6. How does the house look when he enters?

7. Where is Sethe?

8. Why is she preparing to die?

9. What does Paul D tell her at the end of her tears?

10. Why is Beloved forgotten?

1. Sethe looked unaccountably smaller than Beloved as the two stood in the doorway. While Beloved is visibly pregnant, it is not just her belly, but her whole person, that looks much...

(The entire section is 465 words.)