Part 2


Beloved by Toni Morrison involves a runaway slave named Sethe who killed off her newborn baby, Beloved, to save her from living the life she lived.In an effort to keep Beloved’s memory alive, she takes in a random woman who claims she is Beloved. “Denver tended to her, watched her sound sleep, listened to her labored breathing and, out of love and a breakneck possessiveness that charged her, hid like a personal blemish Beloved’s incontinence” My scene was when Sethe believes that Beloved is really her daughter. Throughout the passage one paragraph that stood out to me was how attached Denver got to Beloved from the moment they found her. This was intriguing because Denver was not the type to be dependent on someone so much, she was very self absorbed. I chose to do a concrete image of this passage because the image of the skull represents death and Beloved is believed to come back from the dead, but isn’t believed to be dead. I believe that if Beloved never came then Denver and Sethe would not have been the same.

The Story of An Hour

The Story of An Hour

Kate Chopin

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will–as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door–you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.

[text taken from]

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

Sethe’s experiences give us a hint as to why she ended up taking her daugher’s life

No one can conclude if what Sethe did to her baby was the right thing to do or not. However, we can see how Sethe reaches her decision to kill her baby rather than have herself and her children deal with the tragic life of slavery again through her reflections.

When Paul D visited Sethe and the two talked in the kitchen, Sethe told Paul D about the time a “school teacher” and his nephews raped her. She explains to Paul D how they took her milk and beat her with cowhide while she was pregnant and made a “tree” on her back.

In the chapter starting on pg. 28 and also the chapter starting on pg. 74, The recollection of Sethe’s escape and details of her delivery was described through Denver’s mind. Sethe runs away wandering around through the woods while being six months pregnant with “her feet which were so swollen she could not see her arch or feel her ankles.” The delivery of Denver was very hard and the The pain and fear that Sethe faced must have been beyond imagination.

After overcoming these horrible experiences of slavery, she finally started her new life with Baby Suggs and her children. After her escape and overcoming all of the previous experiences she went through, Sethe was very pleased to be able to raise her children on her own.

In my opinion after reading all of Sethe’s recollections and experiences of her slave life and attempted escape, it is kind of understandable to me why she would kill her baby. After experiencing a little amount of freedom and then being caught again and forced back into slavery, she doesn:t want her children going through the same experiences she went through and to be treated like merchandise. At the same time she doesn’t particularly want to kill her own child but in the end that is the decision she chooses.

The Significance of Memory in “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.” (Morrison, 77)

In this passage of “Beloved” by Toni Morrison, we read about a memory of Sethe’s past when she was running away, six months pregnant with her daughter Denver, and she encounters a little white girl in the hills, who helps her along her path, and also helps her deliver her baby. Taking into consideration the time period in which the novel is written, during the years of slavery-and afterwards- we get a sense of what kind of character the little white girl Amy is. It says here that during that time period, anyone who turned in a runaway slave could get money for it, but Sethe did not believe that Amy was going to turn her in. Even though the little girl was of white lineage, she had knowledge of what a negroe slave was, and knew that someone was looking for her, she still did not turn her in or made the effort to belittle the African women that she found in the hills, badly hurt and pregnant. Instead, she took the time to make her as comfortable as she possibly could, and cured her of her illnesses.
“She said the girl talked like a storm, but there wasn’t no meanness around her mouth,” were the words of Sethe. From this quote I got the understanding that Amy, although having knowledge of what slaves where, was still a bond person and had the courage to help another in need. If it may have been another white person that would have found Sethe in the hills, they most likely would have turned her in to receive a monetary reward for it.
From this passage specifically, although we don’t receive much information about what live as a slave was, we can interpret from “Beloved” that it was not an easy task for the slaves to run away. There were many hardships that made running away very difficult. We can also interpret that there were still people with kind hearts like Amy, which without receiving nothing in return, still helped a black woman in need. This, like many other memories of her past, was one that Sethe didn’t like to recall because it reminded her of the troubles that she went through as a slave. Throughout what we have read so far in “Beloved,” the reader gets a pretty good insight of Sethe’s memories, that help piece together parts of the story that are scattered around.



First blog posts on Beloved

Thank you to the six volunteers to get us started. For these posts, find a passage from Beloved that addresses memory. Use the text here to include the passage for your classmates. Then, in 300 words or so, write about what the passage says about memory, what it tells you about the character, and what you understand about Beloved from that passage. Make note of particular words or phrases that stand out to you or help you understand what the passage is saying about memory.

Commenters should write 100-150 words in response to one of the posts, offering additional observations about the passage, the words or phrases your classmate identified as particularly important, or the connection of that passage to the novel overall.

Be sure to keep up with the reading. We agreed that you should read through page 100 if you’re reading the red-covered edition and page 85 if you’re reading the copy that I had. If you’re reading the online text (remember, you need to have a copy with you in class!), the section ends with “Real pretty.” — the next section after that begins with “It was time to lay it all down.”

Happy reading and blogging!

Reading schedule for Beloved

With the midterm behind us, we can begin looking forward to Spring Break. With Spring Break, we can begin to think about Beloved! Remember to get your copy: ISBN 978-1400033416. We have several weeks devoted to our discussion of Toni Morrison’s acclaimed novel, and we’ll use the time to consider how our study of fiction can apply to a longer text, how we can bring research into our examination of the novel, and how we can consider film within our study of narratives–all really exciting opportunities!

We meet again on Wednesday, April 3rd. By then, please read pages 2-64. For the following Monday, April 8th, please read through page 98. We’ll check in then to see how the reading is going. We want to be sure to get through this section of the novel before we go to the Brooklyn Historical Society on April 10th and 15th, where we’ll have the chance to look at slave indentures and runaway slave advertisements, to put some of what we read in Beloved into context.

I’m looking for 10 bloggers to write posts during Spring Break–by end of the day on April 1st, and for everyone else to comment on those posts. Please reach out to me if you want to volunteer–otherwise, I might reach out to you to ask you to volunteer.

Enjoy reading Beloved, and have a rewarding break.

Which version?

When we read “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne in a few day, which version should we use? Because the story is no longer under copyright, it is available in the public domain. When I Google the title, several full-text versions are at the top of the results list. Which version should we use? Look at (no need to read much now–that will come later) these four versions and write a comment in response to this post arguing for one of these versions–and against another if appropriate. Be sure to include specific details that make one version seem better than another. Think about your experience on the site, which you find reliable or unreliable, which are more attractive, which have the kind of extra information you might want to have, etc. What else might help you make the decision.

Please respond by Friday, 2/1.

Option 1: Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

Option 2: Rutgers University, Edited by Jack Lynch

Option 3: The Literature Network

Option 4: Project Gutenberg