Beloved by Toni Morrison

Analysis of Part 11 (Chapter 26)

The quiet of 124 is the quiet of death. It is the quiet of a present which has been overpowered by the past. It is also the death of the trinity which was so strong (and loud) in the second section of the novel: "now it was obvious that her mother could die and leave them both and what would Beloved do then? Whatever was happening, it only worked with three-not two." The trinity is, in a sense, broken by Beloved's greed-her greed for more than the other two had.

A resolution for the character of Denver occurs in this section of the novel. Throughout the book, Denver has been characterized by an immaturity stemming from both a fear of her mother and also a dependency on her. Here, she realizes for the first time that it is not her mother to be afraid of, but Beloved. She also realizes that her mother was not at fault the day of the murder, that "The best thing [Sethe] was, was her children. Whites might dirty her all right, but not her best thing." Perhaps most importantly, though, Denver takes her first step outside of the house-her first step to maturity. Here, she takes her life into her own hands and enters the community in an effort to do something about her situation.

There is resolution here for many minor characters as well. Nelson Lord, who first blocked up Denver's ears with the innocent question about her mother's crime, now opens up Denver's mind to her own existence. Ella, who had been one of the first to shun Sethe for her pride, now leads the other woman to a rescue for Sethe. The town itself, which had grown slothful in its community spirit, reawakens to receive Denver: "the personal pride, the arrogant claim staked out at 124 seemed to them to have run its course."

The theme of the banality of evil is furthered at the Bodwin's house, where Denver catches a glimpse of a statue of a little black boy inscribed with the words "At Yo Service." The Bodwins, dedicated to the abolition of slavery, do not even realize the implications of that statue-it has been so ingrained in their heads.

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