Tag Archives: Beloved

Beloved: Week 2 Synopsis.

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“Good for you. More it hurt, more better it is. Cant nothing heal without pain, you know,”

This week the plot thickens with the appearance of Beloved and many more themes and additions to the book. Here’s some things that we’ve covered, and some things we missed: 

1. The flesh aspect of this segment was very well exposed, with Beloved coming out of the swamp to start her new life in a physical body, and the physical characters throughout the text reacting to a new person in the house. The character dynamics between Paul D relationship with Denver and Sethe; Sethe and Denver’s newfound relationship with Beloved; and company to Denver as she finally felt the spirit’s physical presence.

2. Paul D and Sethe’s relationship seems to become more prominent, realizing that their storytelling of slavery is necessary in their relationship. Paul D’s disclosure on his experience as a slave to Sethe is what is bringing them both together, as Paul D brings another piece to Sethe’s story about Halle and his existence. Sethe cannot continue to think that Halle might be somewhere still alive, when this entire time she coped with the fact that he might be dead. Sethe’s openness to hearing Paul D’s stories is vital in the continuation of him remembering the past. Thus, having this couple feel as if their relationship is vital in hashing out their experiences.

3. Baby Suggs community scene in the middle of the woods was very important in the healing process for the characters in the story. Toni Morrison did a great job in vividly show a flash back and connecting it to the solution of the problems within the text, and the solution to loving Blackness in general. Loving ourselves and protecting the things that we cannot change. Such a beautiful and very important part in the text.

4. We also see that Beloved has some unfinished business with her mother. Whether it is positive or negative, Denver is beginning to realize that her sister’s visit isn’t to merry after all. Few scenes show how Beloved begins to get very territorial over Sethe and the things she has planned to ask and do to her mother. Is Denver beginning to become isolated all over again? 

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Things that were not discussed:

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The significance of Mister, the rooster.

In Paul D’s recollection of biting an iron, his grand memory of a rooster seemed to be very interesting. He states,

“Mister, he looked so..free. Better than me. Stronger, tougher. Son a bitch couldn’t even get out the shell by hisself but he was still king and I was…”

“Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was. But I wash;t allowed to be and stay what I was. Even if you cooked him you’d be cooking a rooster named Mister. But wasn’t no way I’d ever be Paul D again living or dead. Schoolteacher changed me. I was something else and that something was less than a chicken sitting in the sun on a tub.”

In this text, concepts of freedom, racism, identity,and self-worth bled through this paragraph. What was Paul D really trying to say? Was his being less than a rooster on a plantation? How did that rooster make him see hisself as a slave? Something to think about…

This Sunday our discussion continues covering our third segment of the text, (pg. 125-198 in hard copy, 205-317 in pdf) followed by another synopsis of Beloved!

Beloved: Week 1 Synopsis.

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This past week, we finally kicked off our reading and discussion, and we must say that our first dialogue was a success! The best way to dive into the beginning of a great book! Breaking down themes that were clearly noticeable and helping others to see different perspectives was definitely needed and we wanted to highlight some things that we did discuss, along with some ideas that we didn’t. We also have some tweets for reminding and acknowledgement!

Points to remember:

1. Morrison’s common theme in this first segment is a plethora of emotions around adversity. Desperation, grief, guilt, isolation, evil, heavy, sad, lonely, rebuked, etc. All these words lay the groundwork of how unfortunate our scenes are set, but in fact very powerful. 

2. Each theme or unsuitable situation is not only a reflection of the book’s time period, but the reality in our current events as well. Trauma from slavery, gender issues, motherhood, Black womanhood, truth-telling, spirituality, etc also bleeds through the world we live in today. 

3. Denver’s character is very interesting to observe. Not only does she manage the Beloved spirit in the house, but she is the realist in Paul D’s and Sethe’s relationship, along with the after effects of Sethe’s parenting. 

4. “Its not evil, just sad.”

5. “Anything dead coming back to life hurts.”

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Things that were not discussed:

Each week we have a small segment of something that was not mentioned on Sunday. This column is very important to us, as it attempts to shed more light and perspective to the book, providing us with a new angle in understanding the text. 

The Symbolism of the Chokecherry Tree

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Photo Credit: Kelsey Otocki

We read in the text about Sethe scars on her back being her “Chokecherry tree”. Could this depiction of a tree be symbolism of the family baggage that she carries throughout “Beloved”? Besides the flashbacks of her experience in Sweet Home and the casual talks and conversations about Baby Suggs, could each scar have a meaning behind Sethe’s real story and truths? Moreover, can the idea of taking off the tough shell (her clothes) to reveal the horrible past and her current situations be the rhetoric behind the Black Woman and the reason for the pain and suffering in the Sethe character? What do you think?

Stay tuned for our sunday discussion followed by another synopsis next week covering our second portion (68-124 in hard copy, 97-205 pdf version) of Toni Morrison’s Beloved!