I believe that the pivotal passage in Beloved occurred on pages 192-193 when Paul D finds out what exactly happened in 124 and what Sethe has done in the house.

Some quotes that were pivotal:
“I stopped him,” she said, staring at the place where the fence used to be. “I took and put my babies where they’d be safe.”
“It occurred to him that what she wanted for her children was exactly what was missing in 124: safety”
“This here new Sethe talked about safety with a handsaw”

This is where the story actually begins, with the killing of her own daughter in order to protect her from going back to the Sweet Home under the watch of the schoolteacher. Without this killing, there wouldn’t be a haunted house that confined both Sethe and Denver. Sethe may not have lost her daughter, her two sons, and Baby Suggs.

In a way, I feel that the author Toni Morrison is telling the readers that no matter how hard Sethe tried to run from the Sweet Home and cruelty of slavery, she will never be able to be a true free woman. She is still confined with the past even though she is no longer a slave. She is still confined by the haunted house.

Sethe knows this now and that is why she refuses to run anymore because she knows that no matter how far she runs to, she will always be confined to her past and to her love for her children.

Another pivotal quote:
“Your love is too thick”
“Suddenly he saw what Stamp Paid wanted him to see: more important than what Sethe had done was what she claimed.”

Throughout the story, we see the characters trying to claim something. They could never claim anything because they were slaves, they couldn’t even put a claim on themselves. Paul D, Denver, and Beloved wanted to claim Sethe’s love for themselves. They’ve never known what it feels to hold a claim on something and they each have this thirst to finally claim something.

Sethe went to ultimate measures to claim hers.  She wasn’t willing to give away that claim to the schoolteacher. And now, beloved will always be hers only, and no one else’s.

This was a pivotal part of the story because it’s what drives all the events that happens afterwards while also explaining the turmoil of slavery.

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