Beloved by Toni Morrison

Summary of Part 4 (Chapters 8 - 9)

Up in Denver's room, Denver reveals to Beloved that she knows Beloved was the ghost of 124, and asks why she came back alive. Beloved replies that she came for Sethe, that Sethe "is the one I need." Hungry for stories about Sethe, she asks about Denver's birth, and Denver continues the tale. At the edge of the Ohio River, the "water broke loose" in Sethe and the baby began to come. With Amy's help, the baby was born and Sethe had named it after the whitegirl, Miss Amy Denver. Amy then leaves Sethe, and hours later Sethe stumbles across Stamp Paid and his sons fishing by the river. Stamp Paid, a former slave himself, ferries her across, where she is taken to Baby Suggs and 124.

124 eighteen years ago was nothing like it is now. Then, it was a waystation for colored folks, run by Baby Suggs who "had nothing left to make a living with but her heart." In those days, Baby Suggs would lead all the Negroes to a clearing in the forest and Call to them about love. In need of advice, a present-day Sethe walks down to "the Clearing" to think things through. There, she feels fingers upon her neck, first caressing her and then strangling her. She is saved by the arrival of Denver and Beloved, the latter of which strokes the newfound bruises and comforts Sethe.

Walking back home, Sethe realizes something that Denver secretly knows: that those hands were not Baby Suggs's, but the ghost's. However, this thought does not bother her; she has decided to start a life with Paul D, opening back up the past they share. Back at the house, she makes love to them, secretly watched by an angered Beloved.

Meanwhile, Denver reminisces about her own past. Apparently she was not always alone, and used to go to school with other colored children. However, one day a boy asked her a question: "Didn't your mother get locked away for murder? Wasn't you in there with her when she went?" After that Denver never went back.

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