Category Archives: Week 10

The pivotal passage

Toni Morison covers many different scenes in different places. This differentiation makes the novel eclectic and keeps the reader’s mind busy and focusing in multiple scenarios. I believe the pivotal passage that would change the path of the whole novel if it hadn’t happened is when Baby Suggs got her freedom and moved to Cincinnati where she does work repairing shoes and owns her own house. So many events followed Baby Suggs freedom. Such as Garner’ death, and so forth.
Eliminating this passage from happening would raise many questions, would Baby Suggs be free? If yes, would she move to Cincinnati?
We can notice the effect of this scene and its importance in the novel. Many events following Baby Suggs’ freedom are relying on this particular scene.

Home work

The pivotal scene of the Beloved is that Sethe’s murdering of her own daughter.  If she did not murder her child, the whole novel would lead to a different direction.  In other words, there would not be the baby ghost who haunted the house, Howard and Bugler would not run away, Sethe and Denver would not isolated in their own home, Paul D would not horrify and leave Sethe, and Sethe would not so obsess with Beloved. Sethe believed that the experience of being a slave is worse than the death. When Paul D argued her that her action was wrong to kill a child and there could be other way to protect her children. He also told her that the result of her action did not work because her two sons run away and one locked herself in the house. But she said that, “They ain’t at Sweet Home. Schoolteacher ain’t got em.” “It ain’t my job to know what’s worse. It’s my job to know what is and to keep them away from what I know is terrible. I did that. “That is why she chose to kill her child to protect them from brought them back to Sweet Home which she believed is worse than death.

Pivotal Scene in “Beloved”

One scene that I found to be pivotal was Sethe killing her child. In my opinion, this is what held the book together. The reason behind Sethe’s murder was a good intention. She wanted to protect her children and herself from schoolteacher and the rest of the men. She feared they would’ve taken her along with her children back to the slave life she didn’t want her kids to experience. This action actually showed the amount of love she had for her children.

“I didn’t have time to explain before because it had to be done quick. Quick. She had to be safe and I put her where she would be. But my love was tough and she back now.”

“How if I hadn’t killed her she would have died and that is something I could not bear to happen to her. When I explain it she’ll understand, because she understands everything already. I’ll tend her as no mother ever tended a child, a daughter. Nobody will ever get my milk no more except my own children.”

After Sethe comes to realize that Beloved is her daughter, she wanted to explain to Beloved why she killed her. She knew that her daughter would’ve died anyway at the hands of someone else, and couldn’t handle the sight of that. Now that she has her daughter back, she wants to make up for those lost years. Sethe claims that nobody except her children will ever get her milk. All of this shows the amount of love she has for her children, which is why she ended up killing her daughter.

Also, the baby ghost that haunted 124 would not have been there if Sethe hadn’t killed her daughter. This caused Sethe and Denver to live in isolation because no one visited them. The years of isolation kept Denver inside of 124, until she was forced to get out after her mother lost her job.

Beloved, Week 10

I think that if Sethe never went to the Garners house after Baby Suggs had passed away the story would be much different then how it is now.

“Paul D smiled then, remembering the bedding dress. Sethe was thirteen when she came to Sweet Home and already iron-eyed. She was a timely present for Mrs. Garner who had lost Baby Suggs to her husband’s high principles. The five Sweet Home men looked at the new girl and decided to let her be. They were young and so sick with the absence of women they had taken to calves. Yet they let the iron-eyed girl be, so she could choose in spite of the fact that each one would have beaten the others to mush to have her. It took her a year to choose–a long, tough year of thrashing on pallets eaten up with dreams of her. A year of yearning, when rape seemed the solitary gift of life. The restraint they had exercised possible only because they were Sweet Home men–the ones Mr. Garner bragged about while other farmers
shook their heads in warning at the phrase.”

This scene is one example of the story changing if Sethe did not go to the Garners house because Sethe would have never met with the five men that also lived in the Garner house. If Sethe did not go to the Garner house after Baby Suggs had passed away then she would not have met Halle who becomes her husband or met Paul D who she loves in the story when she is living with her daughter Denver. Sethe would also not have given birth to Denever or would she would have to give up on her first child if she did not go to the Garner house.

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.”

This is another scene that would also have not took place if she did not go to the Garner house. This scene has a great importance because if Sethe did not get her milk stolen by force then she would not have be traumatized so much. She would also not have to live with the fact that she was forced to do something that would scar her life.

Sethe living in the Garner house in her early teens years is what really gets the story going to how it is. By meeting the people she met at the early age and the events that happen to her on those early years plays a big role in what she ends up doing and how she lives it out. She gets married to Halle, gets raped, gives birth to children and so on is the result of what happens to her after she lives in the Garner house.


Faggot is a noun

According to the Urban dictionary online Faggot means: A bundle of sticks or wood.

The term faggot is used in chapter 23 of my reading of Beloved.  This is the section where Paul D, Sixo and the thirty mile woman is trying to escape into the cornfield to meet with the woman who would help them to escape from Sweet Home and slavery.   Sixo is captured and School Teacher gives his men the order to  burn him alive.  In their quest for wood to make a fire the narrator stated, ” dry faggots are scarce and the grass is slick with dew.”  My understanding is that the men had difficulty building a fire because of lack of dry wood and the wet grass made it harder to start the fire.

Marrage of Sethe and Halle

I felt like if Halle and Sether didn’t get married, the whole book would have went in a totally different direction. I felt that the whole book revolved around Sethe being married to Halle. I thought this was a important scene because if Sethe and Halle didn’t get married they wouldn’t have kids. Sethe having kids led to a series of events later on in the book. For example, it led to having her milk stolen. This event led to Halle going crazy because he was there to witness it and he couldn’t do anything. If they weren’t married, there wouldn’t be any milk to be stolen, and that she wouldn’t have been scarred from what happen, and even whipped from the school teacher.

Another example if Sethe never got married with Halle, they wouldn’t have children. I felt like her children has a important role in the book because most of the things accruing in the book, it revolves around them. For example in the beginning of the book there was a gravestone of Sethe’s dead daughter, and engraved on it was, Beloved. Then later in the book Sethe, Denver, and Paul D encountered a women whose name was also Beloved. Coincidence? I don’t think so. If Beloved wasn’t born, she wouldn’t have forced out Baby Suggs and her two sons to leave the house because she was haunting the house. Another example if Sethe never married Halle, they wouldn’t have had Denver. Without Denver, Sethe would have never had met Amy Denver.

In the book on page 175, second to last paragraph, it said “Inside, two boys bled in the sawdust and dirt at the feet of a nigger women holding a blood- soaked child to her chest with one hand and an infant by the heels on the other. She did not look at them; she simply swung the baby toward the wall planks, missed and tried to connect a second time, when out of nowhere– in the ticking time the men spent staring at what there was to stare at– the old nigger boy, still mewing, ran through the door behind them and snatched the baby from the arc of its mother’s swing”. If Sethe never got married and had kids, this event would have never happened because she never wanted them to grow up experiencing the world from what is now.


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.


Hillock is a noun

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary hillock is a small hill or mound.

The word is used in chapter 10 of my reading, the narrator in reference to Paul D and his journeys stated, “when he was lost, and found himself without a petal to guide him, he paused, climbed a tree on a hillock and scanned the horizon…”

Paul D in his quest for freedom was trying to travel north during spring time.  He was told to follow the trees and flowers.  When he got lost he climbed to higher ground to see which direction had trees and flowers.



Killing of Sethe’s Daughter

In chapter 17 of my reading the narrator described the moment when Stamp told Paul D about what Sethe had done to her children.  “Stamp looked into Paul D’s eyes and the sweet conviction in them made him wonder if it had happened at all, eighteen years ago, that while he and Baby Suggs were looking the wrong way, a pretty little slave girl had recognized a hat, and split to the woodshed to kill her children.”  Sethe later explained to Paul D that once she recognized the hat she knew it belonged to School Teacher from Sweet Home who had beat her badly in the past.  She apparently would rather her children die than return to Sweet Home with School Teacher and the others to live a life of slavery.  She was successful in killing only her first daughter.  The killing of this child set off a sequence of events which makes up the plot of the story.

The passage quoted above is a pivotal moment in this novel by Toni Morrison.  This is because the major plot of story surrounds the death of Sethe’s daughter who is regarded as the baby ghost haunting 124.   The story began with a description of some of the supernatural happenings at 124.  The effect these events have on various characters is presented at the beginning of the story.  According to the narrator 124 was spiteful.”  “Full of baby’s venom.” “The women in the house knew it and so did the children.”  Sethe’s children Howard and Buglar eventually had enough of the baby ghost antics and left home.  Baby Suggs on her dying bed felt it was about time they did and did nothing to stop them.

Without the killing of this baby there would not have been a baby ghost to haunt 124. As the story progressed and Beloved showed up Sethe began to speculate that this was the dead baby reincarnated.  Denver was sure this was her sister but did not mind having her around and fear that one day she would leave.  She was more fearful of Beloved leaving than her concern that Beloved could harm her mother.  These are major events that make up the plot.  These events are present because that baby was unfortunately killed by Sethe.

If the death of the baby had not occurred and the subsequent haunting of 124 the plot would be completely different.  Because the story was set during the period of slavery, the experiences of Sethe, Baby Suggs and Paul D lives as slaves could be developed into a plot.  Morrison’s plot would include life of the characters living as slaves and the brutality, shamefulness and lack of humanity that they encountered as they were treated less than human and more like disgusting animals.  The plot would conclude with the outcome of each character whether or not they eventually had good outcome such as a better life despite the painful memories of slavery.


Amy Denver

The pivotal moment for me in “Beloved” was when Amy Denver found Sethe. Without Amy Denver stopping to help Sethe, Baby Denver and Sethe would both be ghosts. Amy was a white girl living in poverty she too had a master but had a good heart. Good enough to help a nigger. She tried to heal Sethe’s wounds and used her hands to deliver the baby. Both in fear looking over their shoulders they knew what had to be done. If hunters didnt get them the snakes wouldve so they had to move fast.

Sethe was going to have her baby no matter what happened in the unknown dark woods. A baby must come of out the mothers wound eventually. Luckily they lived to tell their survival story. After the arrival of Denver, Sethe was able to continue her journey to her children. After crossing the water Sethe had a new life, a new home, a new found freedom with her crawling baby girl, her 2 boys, and Denver. Sethe knew without the help of that white girl her life would’ve been over, that’s why she named her daughter Denver, in honor of Amy Denver’s generosity. To always remember why she was alive.

Sethe and Baby Suggs were haunted by spirits. If Sethe and her unborn child weren’t saved the “Beloved” would have a new meaning. She and her unborn child would’ve been the ghosts haunting the family instead of Beloved.

That’s why I think Sethe meeting Amy Denver is the pivotal moment without Amy, Sethe and her unborn child would be dead. Without Amy stopping to assist Sethe’s swollen weak body, they would’ve been the ghosts haunting 124 and we would be reading the haunting of 124 instead. Also Sethe wouldve died without knowing what happened to her children. She wouldve died not knowing that Halle didnt make it home. She wouldnt have seen her baby girl crawling and sharing her last moments before the baby’s death.