Beloved by Toni Morrison

Summary of Part 11 (Chapter 26)

"124 was quiet," begins the third section of the novel. It is quiet because its inhabitants are tired and hungry. Sethe has been fired from work, and has put all her energies and life savings into making Beloved happy. However, Beloved is never satisfied: "Sethe was trying to make up for the handsaw; Beloved was making her pay for it." As food and money become scarce, Sethe attempts to reason with Beloved-tries to explain what she has suffered and why she had to kill her. Beloved, however, retorts that Sethe was never there for her, and becomes violent as she becomes fat off of the sweets: "Beloved ate up [Sethe's] life, took it, swelled up with it, grew taller on it. And the older woman yielded it up without a murmur."

Fearing for her mother's life, Denver decides for the first time in eighteen years to leave the house to ask for food. She goes to Lady Jones, her old schoolteacher, who is delighted to help. Word spreads throughout the town, all of whose inhabitants remember Baby Suggs and the days 124 was a waystation. The townspeople leave baskets of food in the yard, and Denver returns the baskets, slowly becoming acquainted with the people there.

One day, Denver decides to get a job, and finds one at the Bodwins'. There, she tells the servant, Janey, about Beloved. Rumors quickly spread around the town, and Ella decides to lead a rescue to 124. On the day of the rescue, thirty women walk to 124, singing and praying. Simultaneously, Mr. Bodwin sets out for 124 to pick Denver up to work. With Denver on the porch waiting for him and the women in the front yard, Sethe and a pregnant Beloved emerge.

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