Beloved by Toni Morrison

Summary of Part 8 (Chapter 19)

Chapter 19 opens with the words "124 was loud." It is this loudness, but also a coldness that chases Stamp Paid away when tries to visit. We learn of Stamp Paid's history-that he changed his name the day he was forced to give his wife up to his master's son to fuck. On that day he'd decided that all his obligations, whatever they were, were paid, and began to help runaway slaves to freedom. In the present day, Stamp Paid's spirit is broken because he has found a piece of ribbon attached to a piece of scalp from a young black girl. Finally understanding what made Baby Suggs give up Calling in the woods, Stamp decides to visit 124 to talk to Sethe, but nobody answers the door. However, when he looks through the windows, he catches sight of Beloved.

Stamp visits John and Ella, two other Negroes who help runaway slaves in an effort to find out who the girl is he had seen in the window. They have no answer for him, but Stamp does learn that Paul D is sleeping in the cellars at a church. He is angered that Ella knew about this but didn't do anything. Ella admits she didn't want to help Paul D because he'd associated with Sethe.

Meanwhile, Sethe finally discovers who Beloved is when, one night by the fire, Beloved begins to hum a song that Sethe had made up long ago: "nobody knows that song but me and my children," she says. Sethe takes Beloved's return as a signal that she has been forgiven and freed from the past. With the words "I don't have to remember nothing," she decides not to worry anymore about the outside world, but to turn her focus towards her family. Consequently, she begins to show up late to work and daydreams while there.

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