“That Ain’t Her Mouth.”

beloved (pdf)

I used this section of the passage I chose for Essay #2 to become a sort of visual poem. I thought that the language used by Toni Morrison in this section is so full of imagery and metaphors and I wanted to mirror that with an actual visual text. There are so many concrete and significant images in that section of the text I chose and I thought it would be important to highlight them. Some of the words are crossed out, underlined, or italicized for visual and dramatic effect. Each phrase gets bigger in font size by the line because it’s a poetic build up to this horrific realization that such a terrible thing had been done. With this visual text I hope that anyone viewing will realize the emotion in the narration, and can realize how powerful words can jump off a page to become art, news, or evoke feelings like sadness and shock. I also chose the colors to be similar to the cover art on my copy of the book Beloved. I liked that color scheme and I chose to work with it because I thought it would apply and be relevant to this visual project.

“Why me?”

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In the Story Beloved by Toni Morrison, we see different scenes which lead to the outcome and the climax of the story. My picture basically portrays the summary of my essay. Starting with the babies throat being slit by Sethe, which lead to the ghost hunting 124. The wedding dress portrays what Sethe wore when she was getting married to Halle. Also “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby‚Äôs venom”. Basically 124 is being hunted by the ghost of Beloved and 124 is very unstable. The river bank is said to be where Beloved resurrected from. Also the circus is where Beloved, Denver and Sethe went for quality time and it reminded Sethe of what being a family was like. Basically if Beloveds throat was never slit, the outcome of the whole story would’ve changed. And 124 wouldn’t have been hunted by Beloved’s ghost.

essay 2 passage

“Paul D made a few acquaintances; spoke to them about what work he might
find. Sethe returned the smiles she got. Denver was swaying with delight. And
on the way home, although leading them now, the shadows of three people still
held hands.
A FULLY DRESSED woman walked out of the water. She barely gained the dry
bank of the stream before she sat down and leaned against a mulberry tree. All
day and all night she sat there, her head resting on the trunk in a position
abandoned enough to crack the brim in her straw hat. Everything hurt but her
lungs most of all.
Sopping wet and breathing shallow she spent those hours trying to
negotiate the weight of her eyelids. The day breeze blew her dress dry; the
night wind wrinkled it. Nobody saw her emerge or came accidentally by. If they
had, chances are they would have hesitated before approaching her. Not because
she was wet, or dozing or had what sounded like asthma, but because amid all
that she was smiling……
“You from around here?” Sethe asked her.
She shook her head no and reached down to take off her shoes.
She pulled her dress up to the knees and rolled down her stockings.
When the hosiery was tucked into the shoes, Sethe saw that her feet were
like her hands, soft and new. She must have hitched a wagon ride, thought
Sethe. Probably one of those West Virginia girls looking for something to beat
a life of tobacco and sorghum. Sethe bent to pick up the shoes.
“What might your name be?” asked Paul D.
“Beloved,” she said, and her voice was so low and rough each one looked
at the other two. They heard the voice first–later the name.
“Beloved. You use a last name, Beloved?” Paul D asked her.
“Last?” She seemed puzzled. Then “No,” and she spelled it for them,
slowly as though the letters were being formed as she spoke them.
Sethe dropped the shoes; Denver sat down and Paul D smiled.
He recognized the careful enunciation of letters by those, like himself,
who could not read but had memorized the letters of their name. He was about to
ask who her people were but thought better of it. A young coloredwoman drifting
was drifting from ruin. He had been in Rochester four years ago and seen five
women arriving with fourteen female children. All their men–brothers, uncles,
fathers, husbands, sons–had been picked off one by one by one. They had a
single piece of paper directing them to a preacher on DeVore Street.
The War had been over four or five years then, but nobody white or black
seemed to know it. Odd clusters and strays of Negroes wandered the back roads
and cowpaths from Schenectady to Jackson.
Dazed but insistent, they searched each other out for word of a cousin,
an aunt, a friend who once said, “Call on me. Anytime you get near Chicago,
just call on me.” Some of them were running from family that could not support
them, some to family; some were running from dead crops, dead kin, life
threats, and took-over land. Boys younger than Buglar and Howard;
configurations and blends of families of women and children, while elsewhere,
solitary, hunted and hunting for, were men, men, men. Forbidden public
transportation, chased by debt and filthy “talking sheets,” they followed
secondary routes, scanned the horizon for signs and counted heavily on each
other. Silent, except for social courtesies, when they met one another they
neither described nor asked about the sorrow that drove them from one place to
another. The whites didn’t bear speaking on. Everybody knew.
So he did not press the young woman with the broken hat about where from
or how come.” (Morrison pg 28) (online version)

i think a significant part in the story where is starts picking up to climax is where they first meet beloved and a few sentences before denver was actually starting to get used to pual d’s presence, but all of that changes when beloved shows up

My BHS Experience

The trip to BHS was not only informative but also eye opening, I never expected such detailed work to be preserved over such a long time.  Its not common these day to encounter such old artifacts right off the streets of Brooklyn.  The design of the hallways and rooms held a story of its own.  It gave off the feel of the past without seeing cheesy or fake so It made sense when the guides told us the place was used to shoot a show based on the 1920s.   During the first visit we were given an inside look of the older days in Brooklyn through images and text (Only The Dead Know Brooklyn).  For our second visit, we were presented with a journal kept by a slave owner and newspaper ads for runaway slaves.  All in all it was a great learning experience that most NYers should experience.  I would definitely return to BHS on my own time to look through their archive.

Essay2-passage

Death of Mr. Garner was the turning point in the story ‚ÄúBeloved‚ÄĚ. Schoolteacher took over the Sweet Home after Mr. Garner died. Sufferings started as the days of schoolteacher started at sweet home. His torcher and misconduct lead the whole change in the scenario of the story. Sethe had to ran from the sweet home.

‚ÄúMr. Garner was dead and his wife had a lump in her neck the size of a sweet potato and unable to speak to anyone. She leaned as close to the fire as her pregnant belly allowed and told him, Paul D, the last of the Sweet Home men. There had been six of them who belonged to the farm, Sethe the only female. Mrs. Garner, crying like a baby, had sold his brother to pay off the debts that surfaced the minute she was widowed. Then schoolteacher arrived to put things in order. But what he did broke three more Sweet Home men and punched the glittering iron out of Sethe’s eyes, leaving two open wells that did not reflect firelight.‚ÄĚ (Page 5, online version)

Passage that is central to the novel

‚ÄúShe knew Paul D was adding something to her life – something she wanted to count on but was scared to. Now he had added more: new pictures and old rememorizes that broke her heart. Into the empty space of not knowing about Halle–a space sometimes colored with righteous resentment at what would have been his cowardice, or stupidity or bad luck–that empty place of no definite news was filled now with brand-new sorrow and who could tell how many more on the way. Years ago–when 124 was alive–she had women friends, men friends from all around to share grief with. Then there was no one, for they would not visit her while the baby ghost filled the house, and she returned their disapproval with the potent pride of the mistreated. But now there was someone to share it, and he had beat the spirit away the very day he entered her house and no sign of it since. A blessing, but in its place he brought another kind of haunting: Halle’s face smeared with butter and the clabber too; hos won mouth jammed full of iron, and lord knows what else he could tell her if he wanted to.‚Ä̬† Page 112, 3rd para.

Passage for Essay 2

“Good for you. More it hurt more better it is. Can’t nothing heal without
pain, you know. What you wiggling for?”
Sethe raised up on her elbows. Lying on her back so long had raised a
ruckus between her shoulder blades. The fire in her feet and the fire on her
back made her sweat.
“My back hurt me,” she said.
“Your back? Gal, you a mess. Turn over here and let me see.”
In an effort so great it made her sick to her stomach, Sethe turned onto
her right side. Amy unfastened the back of her dress and said, “Come here,
Jesus,” when she saw. Sethe guessed it must be bad because after that call to
Jesus Amy didn’t speak for a while. In the silence of an Amy struck dumb for a
change, Sethe felt the fingers of those good hands lightly touch her back. She
could hear her breathing but still the whitegirl said nothing. Sethe could not
move. She couldn’t lie on her stomach or her back, and to keep on her side
meant pressure on her screaming feet. Amy spoke at last in her dreamwalker’s
voice.
“It’s a tree, Lu. A chokecherry tree. See, here’s the trunk–it’s red and
split wide open, full of sap, and this here’s the parting for the branches. You
got a mighty lot of branches. Leaves, too, look like, and dern if these ain’t
blossoms. Tiny little cherry blossoms, just as white. Your back got a whole

essay 2

Now she rolled the dough out with a wooden pin. “Anybody could smell me
long before he saw me. And when he saw me he’d see the drops of it on the front
of my dress. Nothing I could do about that. All I knew was I had to get my milk
to my baby girl. Nobody was going to nurse her like me. Nobody was going to get
it to her fast enough, or take it away when she had enough and didn’t know it.
Nobody knew that she couldn’t pass her air if you held her up on your shoulder,
only if she was lying on my knees. Nobody knew that but me and nobody had her
milk but me. I told that to the women in the wagon. Told them to put sugar
water in cloth to suck from so when I got there in a few days she wouldn’t have
forgot me. The milk would be there and I would be there with it.”
“Men don’t know nothing much,” said Paul D, tucking his pouch back into
his vest pocket, “but they do know a suckling can’t be away from its mother for
long.”
“Then they know what it’s like to send your children off when your
breasts are full.”
“We was talking ’bout a tree, Sethe.”
“After I left you, those boys came in there and took my milk.
That’s what they came in there for. Held me down and took it. I told Mrs.
Garner on em. She had that lump and couldn’t speak but her eyes rolled out
tears. Them boys found out I told on em. Schoolteacher made one open up my
back, and when it closed it made a tree. It grows there still.”
“They used cowhide on you?”
“And they took my milk.”
“They beat you and you was pregnant?”
“And they took my milk!”

Passage of Essay#2

“What might your name be?” asked Paul D.”Beloved,” she said, and her voice was so low and rough each one looked at the other two. They heard the voice first-later the name.”Beloved. You use a last name, Beloved?” Paul D asked her.”Last?” She seemed puzzled. Then “No,” and she spelled it for them, slowly as though the letters were being formed as she spoke them.

Sethe dropped the shoes; Denver sat down and Paul D smiled. He recognized the careful enunciation of letters by those, like himself, who could not read but had memorized the letters of their name. He was about to ask who her people were but thought better of it. A young coloredwoman drifting was drifting from ruin. He had been in Rochester four years ago and seen five women arriving with fourteen female children. All their men-brothers, uncles, fathers, husbands, sons-had been picked off one by one by one. They had a single piece of paper directing them to a preacher on DeVore Street. The War had been over four or five years then, but nobody white or black seemed to know it. Odd clusters and strays of Negroes wandered the back roads and cowpaths from Schenectady to Jackson. Dazed but insistent, they searched each other out for word of a cousin, an aunt, a friend who once said, “Call on me. Anytime you get near Chicago, just call on me.” Some of them were running from family that could not support them, some to family; some were running from dead crops, dead kin, life threats, and took-over land. Boys younger than Buglar and Howard; configurations and blends of families of women and children, while elsewhere, solitary, hunted and hunting for, were men, men, men. Forbidden public transportation, chased by debt and filthy “talking sheets,” they followed secondary routes, scanned the horizon for signs and counted heavily on each other. Silent, except for social courtesies, when they met one another they neither described nor asked about the sorrow that drove them from one place to another. The whites didn’t bear speaking on. Everybody knew.

Passage for Essay 2

Well, that’s the way it was. Nobody counted on Garner dying.
Nobody thought he could. How ’bout that? Everything rested on Garner
being alive. Without his life each of theirs fell to pieces. Now ain’t that
slavery or what is it? At the peak of his strength, taller than tall men, and
stronger than most, they clipped him, Paul D.
First his shotgun, then his thoughts, for schoolteacher didn’t take
advice from Negroes. The information they offered he called backtalk and
developed a variety of corrections (which he recorded in his notebook) to
reeducate them. He complained they ate too much, rested too much, talked too
much, which was certainly true compared to him, because schoolteacher ate
little, spoke less and rested not at all. Once he saw them playing–a pitching
game–and his look of deeply felt hurt was enough to make Paul D blink. He was
as hard on his pupils as he was on them–except for the corrections.
For years Paul D believed schoolteacher broke into children what Garner
had raised into men. And it was that that made them run off. Now, plagued by
the contents of his tobacco tin, he wondered how much difference there really
was between before schoolteacher and after. Garner called and announced them
men–but only on Sweet Home, and by his leave. Was he naming what he saw or
creating what he did not? That was the wonder of Sixo, and even Halle; it was
always clear to Paul D that those two were men whether Garner said so or not.
It troubled him that, concerning his own manhood, he could not satisfy himself
on that point. Oh, he did manly things, but was that Garner’s gift or his own
will? What would he have been anyway–before Sweet Home–without Garner? In
Sixo’s country, or his mother’s? Or, God help him, on the boat? Did a whiteman
saying it make it so? Suppose Garner woke up one morning and changed his mind?
Took the word away. Would they have run then? And if he didn’t, would the Pauls
have stayed there all their lives? Why did the brothers need the one whole
night to decide? To discuss whether they would join Sixo and Halle. Because
they had been isolated in a wonderful lie, dismissing Halle’s and Baby Suggs’
life before Sweet Home as bad luck. Ignorant of or amused by Sixo’s dark
stories. Protected and convinced they were special.
Never suspecting the problem of Alfred, Georgia; being so in love with
the look of the world, putting up with anything and everything, just to stay
alive in a place where a moon he had no right to was nevertheless there. Loving
small and in secret. His little love was a tree, of course, but not like
Brother–old, wide and beckoning.

essay 2

“and if she thought anything it was no. no. nono.nononono. simple. she just flew. collected every but of life she had made/ all the parts of her that were precious and fine and beautiful, and carried,pushed dragged them through the veil, out, away, over there where no one coule hurt them. over there. outside this place where they would be safe.”

Beloved pages 74-89

“Tell me,” Beloved said. “Tell me how Sethe made you in the boat.”
“She never told me all of it,” said Denver.
“Tell me.”
Denver climbed up on the bed and folded her arms under her apron. She had
not been in the tree room once since Beloved sat on their stump after the
carnival, and had not remembered that she hadn’t gone there until this very
desperate moment. Nothing was out there that this sister-girl did not provide
in abundance: a racing heart, dreaminess, society, danger, beauty. She
swallowed twice to prepare for the telling, to construct out of the strings she
had heard all her life a net to hold Beloved.
“She had good hands, she said. The whitegirl, she said, had thin little
arms but good hands. She saw that right away, she said. Hair enough for five
heads and good hands, she said. I guess the hands made her think she could do
it: get us both across the river. But the mouth was what kept her from being
scared. She said there ain’t nothing to go by with whitepeople. You don’t know
how they’ll jump. Say one thing, do another. But if you looked at the mouth
sometimes you could tell by that. She said this girl talked a storm, but there
wasn’t no meanness around her mouth. She took Ma’am to that lean-to and rubbed
her feet for her, so that was one thing.
And Ma’am believed she wasn’t going to turn her over. You could get money
if you turned a runaway over, and she wasn’t sure this girl Amy didn’t need
money more than anything, especially since all she talked about was getting
hold of some velvet.”
“What’s velvet?”
“It’s a cloth, kind of deep and soft.”
“Go ahead.”
“Anyway, she rubbed Ma’am’s feet back to life, and she cried, she said,
from how it hurt. But it made her think she could make it on over to where
Grandma Baby Suggs was and…”
“Who is that?”
“I just said it. My grandmother.”
“Is that Sethe’s mother?”
“No. My father’s mother.”
“Go ahead.”
“That’s where the others was. My brothers and.., the baby girl.
She sent them on before to wait for her at Grandma Baby’s. So she had to
put up with everything to get there. And this here girl Amy helped.”
Denver stopped and sighed. This was the part of the story she loved. She
was coming to it now, and she loved it because it was all about herself; but
she hated it too because it made her feel like a bill was owing somewhere andhe, Denver, had to pay it. But who she owed or what to pay it with eluded her.
Now, watching Beloved’s alert and hungry face, how she took in every word,
asking questions about the color of things and their size, her downright
craving to know, Denver began to see what she was saying and not just to hear
it: there is this nineteen-year-old slave girl–a year older than her self–
walking through the dark woods to get to her children who are far away. She is
tired, scared maybe, and maybe even lost. Most of all she is by herself and
inside her is another baby she has to think about too. Behind her dogs,
perhaps; guns probably; and certainly mossy teeth. She is not so afraid at
night because she is the color of it, but in the day every sound is a shot or a
tracker’s quiet step.
Denver was seeing it now and feeling it–through Beloved. Feeling how it
must have felt to her mother. Seeing how it must have looked.
And the more fine points she made, the more detail she provided, the more
Beloved liked it. So she anticipated the questions by giving blood to the
scraps her mother and grandmother had told herwand a heartbeat. The monologue
became, iri fact, a duet as they lay down together, Denver nursing Beloved’s
interest like a lover whose pleasure was to overfeed the loved. The dark quilt
with two orange patches was there with them because Beloved wanted it near her
when she slept. It was smelling like grass and feeling like hands– the
unrested hands of busy women: dry, warm, prickly. Denver spoke, Beloved
listened, and the two did the best they could to create what really happened,
how it really was, something only Sethe knew because she alone had the mind for
it and the time afterward to shape it: the quality of Amy’s voice, her breath
like burning wood. The quick-change weather up in those hills—cool at night,
hot in the day, sudden fog. How recklessly she behaved with this whitegirlNa
recklessness born of desperation and encouraged by Amy’s fugitive eyes and her
tenderhearted mouth.
“You ain’t got no business walking round these hills, miss.”
“Looka here who’s talking. I got more business here ‘n you got.
They catch you they cut your head off. Ain’t nobody after me but I know
somebody after you.” Amy pressed her fingers into the soles of the slavewoman’s
feet. “Whose baby that?”
Sethe did not answer.
“You don’t even know. Come here, Jesus,” Amy sighed and shook her head.
“Hurt?”
“A touch.”
“Good for you. More it hurt more better it is. Can’t nothing heal without
pain, you know. What you wiggling for?”
Sethe raised up on her elbows. Lying on her back so long had raised a
ruckus between her shoulder blades. The fire in her feet and the fire on her
back made her sweat.
“My back hurt me,” she said.
“Your back? Gal, you a mess. Turn over here and let me see.”
In an effort so great it made her sick to her stomach, Sethe turned onto
her right side. Amy unfastened the back of her dress and said, “Come here,
Jesus,” when she saw. Sethe guessed it must be bad because after that call to
Jesus Amy didn’t speak for a while. In the silence of an Amy struck dumb for a
change, Sethe felt the fingers of those good hands lightly touch her back. She
could hear her breathing but still the whitegirl said nothing. Sethe could not
move. She couldn’t lie on her stomach or her back, and to keep on her side
meant pressure on her screaming feet. Amy spoke at last in her dreamwalker’s
voice.
“It’s a tree, Lu. A chokecherry tree. See, here’s the trunk–it’s red and
split wide open, full of sap, and this here’s the parting for the branches. You
got a mighty lot of branches. Leaves, too, look like, and dern if these ain’t
blossoms. Tiny little cherry blossoms, just as white. Your back got a wholeree on it. In bloom. What God have in mind, I wonder. I had me some whippings,
but I don’t remember nothing like this. Mr. Buddy had a right evil hand too.
Whip you for looking at him straight. Sure would. I looked right at him one
time and he hauled off and threw the poker at me. Guess he knew what I was athinking.'”
Sethe groaned and Amy cut her reverie short–long enough to shift Sethe’s
feet so the weight, resting on leaf-covered stones, was above the ankles.
“That better? Lord what a way to die. You gonna die in here, you know.
Ain’t no way out of it. Thank your Maker I come along so’s you wouldn’t have to
die outside in them weeds. Snake come along he bite you. Bear eat you up. Maybe
you should of stayed where you was, Lu. I can see by your back why you didn’t
ha ha.
Whoever planted that tree beat Mr. Buddy by a mile. Glad I ain’t you.
Well, spiderwebs is ’bout all I can do for you. What’s in here ain’t enough.
I’ll look outside. Could use moss, but sometimes bugs and things is in it.
Maybe I ought to break them blossoms open. Get that pus to running, you think?
Wonder what God had in mind. You must of did something. Don’t run off nowhere
now.”
Sethe could hear her humming away in the bushes as she hunted spiderwebs.
A humming she concentrated on because as soon as Amy ducked out the baby began
to stretch. Good question, she was thinking.
What did He have in mind? Amy had left the back of Sethe’s dress open and
now a tail of wind hit it, taking the pain down a step. A relief that let her
feel the lesser pain of her sore tongue. Amy returned with two palmfuls of web,
which she cleaned of prey and then draped on Sethe’s back, saying it was like
stringing a tree for Christmas.
“We got a old nigger girl come by our place. She don’t know nothing. Sews
stuff for Mrs. Buddy–real fine lace but can’t barely stick two words together.
She don’t know nothing, just like you. You don’t know a thing. End up dead,
that’s what. Not me. I’m a get to Boston and get myself some velvet. Carmine.
You don’t even know about that, do you? Now you never will. Bet you never even
sleep with the sun in your face. I did it a couple of times. Most times I’m
feeding stock before light and don’t get to sleep till way after dark comes.
But I was in the back of the wagon once and fell asleep.
Sleeping with the sun in your face is the best old feeling. Two times I
did it. Once when I was little. Didn’t nobody bother me then. Next time, in
back of the wagon, it happened again and doggone if the chickens didn’t get
loose. Mr. Buddy whipped my tail. Kentucky ain’t no good place to be in.
Boston’s the place to be in. That’s where my mother was before she was give to
Mr. Buddy. Joe Nathan said Mr.
Buddy is my daddy but I don’t believe that, you?”
Sethe told her she didn’t believe Mr. Buddy was her daddy.
“You know your daddy, do you?”
“No,” said Sethe.
“Neither me. All I know is it ain’t him.” She stood up then, having
finished her repair work, and weaving about the lean-to, her slow-moving eyes
pale in the sun that lit her hair, she sang: “‘When the busy day is done And my
weary little one Rocketh gently to and fro; When the night winds softly blow,
And the crickets in the glen Chirp and chirp and chirp again; Where “pon the
haunted green Fairies dance around their queen, Then from yonder misty skies
Cometh Lady Button Eyes.”
Suddenly she stopped weaving and rocking and sat down, her skinny arms
wrapped around her knees, her good good hands cupping her elbows. Her slowmoving eyes stopped and peered into the dirt at her feet. “That’s my mama’s
song. She taught me it.”
“Through the muck and mist and glaam To our quiet cozy home, Where to
singing sweet and low Rocks a cradle to and fro.here the clock’s dull monotone
Telleth of the day that’s done,
Where the moonbeams hover o’er
Playthings sleeping on the floor,
Where my weary wee one lies
Cometh Lady Button Eyes.
Layeth she her hands upon
My dear weary little one,
And those white hands overspread
Like a veil the curly head,
Seem to fondle and caress
Every little silken tress.
Then she smooths the eyelids down
Over those two eyes of brown
In such soothing tender wise
Cometh Lady Button Eyes.”
Amy sat quietly after her song, then repeated the last line before she
stood, left the lean-to and walked off a little ways to lean against a young
ash. When she came back the sun was in the valley below and they were way above
it in blue Kentucky light.
“‘You ain’t dead yet, Lu? Lu?”
“Not yet.”
“Make you a bet. You make it through the night, you make it all the way.”
Amy rearranged the leaves for comfort and knelt down to massage the swollen
feet again. “Give these one more real good rub,” she said, and when Sethe
sucked air through her teeth, she said, “Shut up. You got to keep your mouth
shut.”
Careful of her tongue, Sethe bit down on her lips and let the good hands
go to work to the tune of “So bees, sing soft and bees, sing low.” Afterward,
Amy moved to the other side of the lean-to where, seated, she lowered her head
toward her shoulder and braided her hair, saying, “Don’t up and die on me in
the night, you hear? I don’t want to see your ugly black face hankering over
me. If you do die, just go on off somewhere where I can’t see you, hear?”
“I hear,” said Sethe. I’ll do what I can, miss.”
Sethe never expected to see another thing in this world, so when she felt
toes prodding her hip it took a while to come out of a sleep she thought was
death. She sat up, stiff and shivery, while Amy looked in on her juicy back.
“Looks like the devil,” said Amy. “But you made it through.
Come down here, Jesus, Lu made it through. That’s because of me.
I’m good at sick things. Can you walk, you think?”
“I have to let my water some kind of way.”
“Let’s see you walk on em.”
It was not good, but it was possible, so Sethe limped, holding on first
to Amy, then to a sapling.
“Was me did it. I’m good at sick things ain’t I?”
“Yeah,” said Sethe, “you good.”
“We got to get off this here hill. Come on. I’ll take you down to the
river. That ought to suit you. Me, I’m going to the Pike. Take me straight to
Boston. What’s that all over your dress?”
“Milk.”
“You one mess.”
Sethe looked down at her stomach and touched it. The baby was dead. She
had not died in the night, but the baby had. If that was the case, then thereas no stopping now. She would get that milk to her baby girl if she had to
swim.
“Ain’t you hungry?” Amy asked her.
“I ain’t nothing but in a hurry, miss.”
“Whoa. Slow down. Want some shoes?”
“Say what?”
“I figured how,” said Amy and so she had. She tore two pieces from
Sethe’s shawl, filled them with leaves and tied them over her feet, chattering
all the while.
“How old are you, Lu? I been bleeding for four years but I ain’t having
nobody’s baby. Won’t catch me sweating milk cause…”
“I know,” said Sethe. “You going to Boston.”
At noon they saw it; then they were near enough to hear it. By late
afternoon they could drink from it if they wanted to. Four stars were visible
by the time they found, not a riverboat to stow Sethe away on, or a ferryman
willing to take on a fugitive passenger–nothing like that–but a whole boat to
steal. It had one oar, lots of holes and two bird nests.
“There you go, Lu. Jesus looking at you.”
Sethe was looking at one mile of dark water, which would have to be split
with one oar in a useless boat against a current dedicated to the Mississippi
hundreds of miles away. It looked like home to her, and the baby (not dead in
the least) must have thought so too.
As soon as Sethe got close to the river her own water broke loose to join
it. The break, followed by the redundant announcement of labor, arched her
back.
“What you doing that for?” asked Amy. “Ain’t you got a brain in your
head? Stop that right now. I said stop it, Lu. You the dumbest thing on this
here earth. Lu! Lu!”
Sethe couldn’t think of anywhere to go but in. She waited for the sweet
beat that followed the blast of pain. On her knees again, she crawled into the
boat. It waddled under her and she had just enough time to brace her leaf-bag
feet on the bench when another rip took her breath away. Panting under four
summer stars, she threw her legs over the sides, because here come the head, as
Amy informed her as though she did not know it–as though the rip was a breakup
of walnut logs in the brace, or of lightning’s jagged tear through a leather
sky.
It was stuck. Face up and drowning in its mother’s blood. Amy stopped
begging Jesus and began to curse His daddy.
“Push!” screamed Amy.
“Pull,” whispered Sethe.
And the strong hands went to work a fourth time, none too soon, for river
water, seeping through any hole it chose, was spreading over Sethe’s hips. She
reached one arm back and grabbed the rope while Amy fairly clawed at the head.
When a foot rose from the river bed and kicked the bottom of the boat and
Sethe’s behind, she knew it was done and permitted herself a short faint.
Coming to, she heard no cries, just Amy’s encouraging coos. Nothing happened
for so long they both believed they had lost it. Sethe arched suddenly and the
afterbirth shot out. Then the baby whimpered and Sethe looked.
Twenty inches of cord hung from its belly and it trembled in the cooling
evening air. Amy wrapped her skirt around it and the wet sticky women clambered
ashore to see what, indeed, God had in mind.
Spores of bluefern growing in the hollows along the riverbank float
toward the water in silver-blue lines hard to see unless you are in or near
them, lying right at the river’s edge when the sunshots are low and drained.
Often they are mistook for insects–but they are seeds in which the whole
generation sleeps confident of a future.
And for a moment it is easy to believe each one has one–will become allf what is contained in the spore: will live out its days as planned.
This moment of certainty lasts no longer than that; longer, perhaps, than
the spore itself.
On a riverbank in the cool of a summer evening two women struggled under
a shower of silvery blue. They never expected to see each other again in this
world and at the moment couldn’t care less.
But there on a summer night surrounded by bluefern they did something
together appropriately and well. A pateroller passing would have sniggered to
see two throw-away people, two lawless outlaws– a slave and a barefoot
whitewoman with unpinned hair–wrapping a ten-minute-old baby in the rags they
wore. But no pateroller came and no preacher. The water sucked and swallowed
itself beneath them. There was nothing to disturb them at their work. So they
did it appropriately and well.
Twilight came on and Amy said she had to go; that she wouldn’t be caught
dead in daylight on a busy river with a runaway. After rinsing her hands and
face in the river, she stood and looked down at the baby wrapped and tied to
Sethe’s chest.
“She’s never gonna know who I am. You gonna tell her? Who brought her
into this here world?” She lifted her chin, looked off into the place where the
sun used to be. “You better tell her. You hear? Say Miss Amy Denver. Of
Boston.”

Passage for Essay #2

The passage i chose for my essay is on page .

Pg.44
‚ÄúMr.Garner was dead and his wife had a lump in her neck the size of a sweet potato and unable to speak to anyone. She leaned as close to the fire as her pregnant belly allowed and told him, Paul D, the last of the Sweet Home men. There had been six of them who belonged to the farm, Sethe the only female. Mrs.Garner, crying like a baby, had sold his brother to pay off the debts that surfaced the minute she was widowed. Then Schoolteacher arrived to put things in order. But what he did broke three more Sweet Home men and punched the glittering iron out of Sethe‚Äôs eyes, leaving two open wells that did not reflect firelight.‚ÄĚ

Why would Morrison tell this story?

I think the Toni Morrison wrote this story to show us the realism of what slavery was like for the African Americans before their freedom. The writer uses examples of the pain these characters she created had to go through out their lives. Their lives were always difficult, they were oppressed because they were back, they had no freedom to be themselves, their identities were taken away. ¬†“Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was, but i¬†wasn’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”. (pg.86) Like Paul D who says that the rooster had the right to be who the animal wanted to be, but he couldn’t. The rooster had a name being it an animal, but Paul D was treated worse than an animal being himself a human with no real name.

Sethe was another character that Toni Morrison used to describe the hardships of many real like slaves. Sethe was raped and tortured, her family was taken away, she had to protect her children from whatever danger came their way, even if it meant killing her children like she killed her baby¬†daughter.There was many other characters being mentioned in the book but she took her time to emphasize ¬†Paul D’s and Sethe’s situations¬†and develop them through-out ¬†the story of Beloved. I think that there were many slaves who’s stories that were told through generations about what they went through and the bravery that they had ¬†might have motivated Toni to write a fiction novel of slaves. I can understand from each character that they showed bravery in every way, when it came to protecting their own and gaining their freedom that was taken away by their ‘masters’.

I think the phrase “It was not a story to pass on” comments on how horrific the story was. No one truly wants to remember and consider a story in which a mother murders her child to save her from slavery and the pain all these characters went through. But by saying it’s “not a story to pass on”, Toni Morrison is saying it’s not a nice, pleasant story, it’s not a story that many people like to hear. The characters wanted to forget their past which also included “beloved” from their memories, they wanted to continue with their lives with out having the¬†haunting in 124.

On Finishing Beloved and other accomplishments

We’ve added an extra day to our plans to keep discussing¬†Beloved. I promised some of the film, and I really hope that we can make time for it tomorrow–though it’s a compromise since we’ll want to spend time discussing the work for Essay 2. Finishing¬†Beloved is a great accomplishment–it’s a difficult, painful text, but one that I hope was rewarding for you to complete. I’m interested to see how you treat the text in your essay and creative projects, and how we can address it in our final discussion on Wednesday.

If you haven’t blogged about¬†Beloved yet (I’m not counting the BHS blogging as blogging about¬†Beloved), or if you want to say more, please post by this evening your response to any of the following questions:

What does it mean to read a story that “was not a story to pass on”?

Why do we read about painful experiences, whether it’s in a character’s experience or a nation’s experience?

Why do you think Toni Morrison would tell this story? What might have motivated her to tell this story, and to then identify it as one that¬†“was not a story to pass on”?

Beloved could be read as the ghost of Sethe’s slain daughter, or as a girl who escaped tortuous enslavement. What does it mean to you as a reader not to know definitively what the answer is?

As always, these posts should be approximately 300 words, use quotations to support your ideas or remind readers of the details you draw on, and should be proofread. As always, the rest of the class should reply with 150-word proofread comments, and as we agreed upon in class, we will not begin our comments with “I agree”–find some other way to connect to the bloggers’ ideas!

I look forward to reading your responses, and to discussing these responses and comments in class on Wednesday.