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You are Beloved, and You are Beloved, and You…

As much as I would love to focus on everything that occurs in the remainder of Beloved, I will particularly focus on pages 248 to 257 because of its dense poetic prose, (maybe because I haven’t finished the reading but don’t worry, Dr. Bezio, I will by tomorrow). Morrison’s syntax changes drastically on page 254 when each sentence is shortened and appears to be a poem of sorts. Poetry is a way to convey things that would be difficult to convey otherwise and what Morrison is possibly conveying is quite interesting. To start, we don’t explicitly know who is speaking, but we can infer that the first part on page 254 is mostly Beloved speaking, the second part on page 255 is mostly Denver, and the third part on pages 255 to 256 is mostly Sethe speaking. I use the word mostly because although the context and word choice allows us to assume these parts fit a specific character, there appears to be a mixture of all three mentioned characters within each portion of the “poem.”

Of the many things I could point out within these pages, the preoccupation with faces is something that particularly stands out. If we follow my presumed speakers between pages 245 and 256, then Beloved “loves” Sethe’s face, Denver “needs” Beloved’s face, and Sethe “is” Beloved’s face. So if Beloved loves Sethe and Sethe is Beloved, then Sethe loves herself. There are a variety of other reasons within this portion of the book that leads us to acknowledge the mixture of all three characters, but what does this tell us?

Well, this book, then, seems to be a reclamation of the self. Sethe has felt alienated and at blame based on her skin color and her actions. Furthermore, Sethe has been represented as lacking emotion since most of our earlier accounts of her have been through other people’s perspectives. What Morrison might be trying to say here is that people must reclaim themselves. No one can be owned by anybody and a true account of history must be through the eyes of someone who lived it (which is missing in many forms of education). We also need many perspectives to get a full story. Sethe by herself is only a part of the story, as is Beloved and Denver. But together, we have a much better understanding of the context in which they lived. Finally, we all must accept ourselves for who we are. We are all multifaceted and dearly loved (or at least should be), which is the meaning of “Beloved.” Despite the horrors of the past and our previous actions, all have the opportunity to forgive.


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  1. Nicolette Romley Nicolette Romley

    I agree with your conclusion that, when boiled down, this book is about the reclamation of self. The theme of the book really revealed itself at the end, and it was interesting how you connected Beloved, Denver, and Sethe’s words all to then conclude that Sethe loves herself. This story was, at the end of the day, about Sethe and her journey.

  2. Katherine Fell Katherine Fell

    I think the ideas about the reclamation of the self are very applicable to the end of the book. Not only that, but I think Morrison’s greater focus in the novel is the idea that African Americans are reclaiming their identity in the United States after centuries of oppression and enslavement. They are redefining what it means to be a person of color in America, and Morrison is highlighting that in her novel.

  3. Sara Messervey Sara Messervey

    I like your comment about the importance of multiple perspectives. It reminds me of what we talked about in class–how you need a lot of layers to get to the truth of what is happening in the book. We are never directly told what happens in a given scene, especially this one at the end. We develop a clearer picture by stitching together the pieces of the individual narratives, much like history, which is what we get to do in these confusing first-person narratives towards the end of the book.

  4. David Ataide David Ataide

    I liked your point about how this story can only be told through several characters’ perspectives. If we only saw it from Sethe’s perspective we would not have the complete story. That is why I think the last portion with the “I am Beloved” chapters is so crucial because it seems like the climax to this story with these three characters coming together and seeing their perspectives.

  5. Rachel Nugent Rachel Nugent

    I think the fact that you highlighted the change of how she is writing is very key. I find that oftentimes when we read, especially for classes, it’s in one medium or another. While we’ve discussed Morrison’s imagery and colorful way of describing things before, noting that her tone shifts to something more poetic highlights the importance of the section and really pushes us to question what about the poetic nature of it brings to the meaning of it rather than having it in the same prose style as before. I think that what you mention about the claiming of the self is really pointed when you connect it to the idea that people often write poetry as a means of self-expression.

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