Beloved by Toni Morrison

Analysis of Part 10 (Chapters 24 - 25)

The theme of slavery versus freedom is once again brought into play when Paul D reminisces about Sweet Home. "Everything rested on Garner being alive," notes Paul D. "Without his life each of theirs fell to pieces. Now ain't that slavery or what is it?" Though the Garners treated their slaves as men, they still fostered in them a dependency for all their needs, including their esteem. "Garner called and announced them men-but only on Sweet Home, and by his leave. Was he naming what he saw or creating what he did not?" Paul D notes that the only men at heart were Sixo and Halle, because they never questioned once their inherent right to freedom.

Paul D's soliloquy at the end of the chapter over his own price reveals that Paul D still isn't sure of who he is. Having run for 18 years from slavery, he still believes that he has a price, and that he can be bought and sold. He does, however, know that what he wants is a place he can rest-where people can't move him around without his assent (as Beloved did).

Sixo's song is, in one sense, a song of hatred for the white men. In another sense, it is a song of defiance and of freedom, for it is sung in his own native language and not English. In refusing to speak the language forced upon him, Sixo pronounces his independence, even to the last.

Sixo's name is an allusion to the "Sixty Million and More" Africans who died in the Middle Passage, and his death by fire is symbolic of their deaths. While dying, though, Sixo laughs and cries out "Seven-O" because he knows there is a child on the way, a child which he believes will be born to freedom by the Thirty-Mile Woman. That child is an uncertain hope, and a dream, both for him and for millions of Negroes.

At the end of Chapter 25, Paul D asks Stamp Paid "How much is a nigger supposed to take?" In essence, he is asking how much more black men will have to endure. Stamp Paid's answer is not an optimistic one: "All he can." It is Stamp's resignation-a resignation he discovered tied to a ribbon in the water-and it is Baby Suggs's resignation. The implication is that the white folks will continue to view them as animals, and that black people must endure all they can until this changes. Paul D's final response of "Why?" is an unanswered one. It is unanswered because it has no reasonable answer-its answer is the shame of a nation. Also hidden in Stamp Paid's answer that a Negro should take "all he can" is the implication that a black man should take all he is given, including freedom and apparent freedom.

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