Beloved by Toni Morrison

Summary of Part 9 (Chapters 20 - 23)

Chapters 20 to 22 are a series of stream of consciousness pieces from the points of view of Sethe, Denver, and finally Beloved.

Sethe's stream of consciousness reveals her possessiveness over Beloved, which manifests in the refrain "Beloved, she my daughter. She mine." In her mind, she assures Beloved that she will be a good mother. She attempts to justify the murder as an act of love. Threaded through the writing are also hints of the past: we learn that Sethe's back was opened because schoolteacher wanted to study her. We learn that Sethe doesn't understand why she was separated from her mother. Finally, there is a thread of hate for Paul D in the stream, for he attempted to make Beloved leave.

Denver's stream of consciousness reveals a fear of Sethe-that she might kill her too. Denver believes that her father is alive and is convinced that Beloved came back to wait with her for their father. Like Sethe, she is possessive of Beloved, and like Sethe, she also harbors a hate for Paul D, because she feels he violates her father. We also get a hint of a warning with regards to Beloved, from a time when Baby Suggs told Denver that the ghost "was after Ma'am."

Beloved's stream is crafted in disjunct phrases and images, as fit for a one-year-old child who has known death and rebirth. She describes a place where "there will never be a time when I am not crouching and watching others who are crouching too." In that place there is no water, but only rats and death. Beloved describes her own birth, her existence at Sweet Home, her murder, and her rebirth with images of clouds and water. "Sethe's is the face that left me . . . her smiling face is the place for me it is the face I lost she is my face smiling at me."

Chapter 23, also called the "Chorus," is a sort of joining of the three voices, as they interact in a sort of surreal dialogue. At the center of this chorus are the words "You are mine / You are mine / You are mine."

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