Beloved by Toni Morrison

Summary of Part 7 (Chapters 16 - 18)

Chapter 16 continues the narration of chapter 15. The morning after the party, schoolteacher and a nephew arrive at 124 with a slave catcher and sheriff. They search for Sethe and her children in order to take them back to Sweet Home, and discover her in the darkness of the shed. She is found attempting to smash Denver against the walls of the shed, but Stamp Paid grabs the girl from her. Upon the floor are Howard and Buglar, covered in blood. Against Sethe's breasts is the unnamed child (Beloved), dead.

Schoolteacher pronounces Sethe unfit to be a slave anymore. He, his nephew, and the slave catcher leave, and the sheriff takes Sethe, now nursing Denver, to jail.

In the present day, Stamp Paid calls Paul D aside at work to show him an old newspaper clipping. It has a sketch of Sethe on it, and describes the murder of her baby girl. Paul D, however, refuses to believe Stamp Paid, claiming that the article can't possibly be about Sethe because "that ain't her mouth" in the picture. Despite this, Paul D takes the newspaper clipping back home with him, presumably to get confirmation of the error from Sethe. Instead, Sethe retells the story of chapter 16 to him, arguing that "I took and put my babies where they'd be safe." Protesting that "there could have been . . . some other way" and that "You got two feet, Sethe, not four," Paul D leaves the house.

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