Howard and Buglar – leave in the dead of “winter” p 3
Blue – “… all by themselves in the gray and white house on Bluestone Road.” (Spirituality and sadness)
Pink – (innocence, childhood, and feminine things) Baby Suggs says that she wants pink in her life because she’s longing for innocence due to her life experiences. Beloved’s headstone is pink with “glittering chips” because it shows that despite her young childhood Beloved has so much anger because of their history in slavery. The tombstone also symbolizes the innocence of Beloved’s death.
Chamomile p 12, 13 –Chamomile sap symbolizes nature. When Sethe mentions chamomile to Paul D, the chamomile symbolizes young womanhood and femininity.
“Lightning white” staircase p 19 – purity, innocence, negative aspects, death, terror, supernatural, blinding truth of an inscrutable cosmic mystery; It symbolizes Baby Suggs’ love for crawling already? baby because she had the stairs painted white so that the baby can see where it is crawling to.
Iron eyes – Sethe’s eyes are like two wells, the iron represents the hardness in her eyes
Sweet Home – symbolizes Sethe’s hard past; only full of bad memories; symbolic of the slavery they experienced. Sweet Home symbolizes Sethe’s, Baby Sugg’s, Paul D’s, Halle, and the other slaves who lived at Sweet Home’s difficult past. Sweet Home was neither “sweet” nor “home”, especially after the death of Mr. Garner and the arrival of the schoolteacher.
-Pg.21 “Reminds me of that headless bride…” (Morrison’s Beloved: Allegorically Othering “White” Christianity) The headless bride symbolizes Beloved. Morrison first introduces Beloved as a ghost. It fits the context of the novel, because Sethe nearly detached Beloved’s head by slitting her throat with a chainsaw—to keep her away from slavery.
-Paul D. Garner – He symbolizes the Christ-like figure. (pg.25) Paul brings message of “hope”. “Feels her pain”. “Become the kind of man who could walk into a house and make the women cry. Because with him, in his presence, they could. There was something blessed in his manner. Women saw him and wanted to weep-to tell him that their chest hurt and their knees did too. Strong women and wise saw him and told him things they only told each other: that way past the Change of Life, desire in them had suddenly become enormous, greedy, more savage…” (pg.26) “…body, an arc of kindness” Paul D suffered through getting locked up and chained down. Like Christ, he goes through some form of suffering and brings message of “comfort”. His presence makes people want to confide in him just like people wanted to confide to the apostle Paul. (pg.27)—tells spirit to leave the house alone. Commands “religious authority” which is similar to Christ.
“F-in cows” – symbolizes the dehumanization of the slaves. This action symbolizes manhood.
Sethe’s tree on her back - symbolizes the pain of slavery; ironic symbolism because trees archetypically symbolize life. The tree on her back also symbolizes her desire to be treated as a human. The tree also symbolizes the savage-like nature of the white slave master.
Milk - life. The guys taking her milk is another “dehumanization” of slavery. The nephews taking Sethe’s milk is treating her like an animal.
-Paul D - hoping he wouldn’t mind the fact that she was not prepared, that though she could remember desire, she had forgotten how it worked, the clutch and helplessness that resided in the hands; how blindness was altered so that what leapt to the eye were places to lie down, and all else…” “His dreaming of her had been too long and too long ago. Her deprivation had been not having any dreams of her own at all.”(pg.29) Paul D in this chapter symbolizes the disappointment that occurs, after desiring for something for so long. This is a common feeling that slaves had. The slaves were not entirely happy, even after the Emancipation of Proclamation.
-Pg. 29 “white stairs”: The white stairs in this context is used as a symbolism for desire. It symbolizes desire because Sethe and Paul D go up the white stairs to get familiar with each other.
-butter, barrel “pg.32” After seeing the boys take Sethe’s milk, Halle covers his face with butter because he feels ashamed that he couldn’t stand up for Sethe, so he tries to conceal himself (becomes evident in later chapters). Halle’s covering his face with butter is a symbol for him losing everything: his family, his life, and his manhood. His covering himself in butter also shows that he’s “feeling” Sethe’s pain of when her milk was taken by the nephews.
-few yellow flowers (pg.32) archetype yellow is for health, sun, and cowardice. For this context, the yellow is for cowardice, shows the evidence of the cowardice of slavery.
-tree: Paul D. describes Sethe’s scars as a wrought-iron maze, “nothing like any tree he knew because trees were inviting; things you could trust and be near; talk to if you wanted to as he frequently did since way back when he took the midday meal in the fields of Sweet Home”; he says Sethe’s tree didn’t compare with Sixo’s tree. In this context, the tree symbolizes death and sorrow, instead of life. The trees on Sethe’s and Sixo’s back are from cowhide whips.
- (Thematic) “No matter what all your teeth and wet fingers anticipated, there was no accounting for the way that simple joy could shake you.”
Stream pg. 38 – water/river represents life/life cycle, rebirth, fertility and growth, also the commonest symbol for the unconscious
Denver’s cologne – many smells throughout the book, imagery, and cologne symbolizes Denver’s “sweet” secrets
Bushes p 38 – symbolizes Denver’s isolation, green bushes – growth, sensation, hope but can also be death and decay, “five boxwood bushes, planted in a ring, had started stretching toward each other… to form a round, empty room.”
Circles – the round ring of bushes; is wholeness and unity p.34
Elements of nature surround Denver – flowers, bushes, woods, and stream
Flowers- youth, sexuality
“It’s gonna hurt now,” said Amy. “Anything dead coming back to life hurts.” (p42) – represents Beloved coming back to life; Christian symbolism of Jesus coming back to life
-blue handkerchief (pg.55) This is Paul D. Garner’s handkerchief. The archetype blue is for loyalty, protection, peace, calmness, spirituality, sadness. This handkerchief being blue is used to emphasize the spirituality of Paul, and emphasize his calmness. His wiping the spilled coffee with this blue handkerchief shows Paul being protective of Sethe and her daughter.
-“pg.57” “Risky, thought Paul D, very risky. For a used to be slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love. The best thing, he knew, was to love just a little bit; everything, just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack,..little love left over for the next one. (Thematic msg) This shows how Paul is wise, reference to the apostle Paul?
-Pg.57 Sethe-“…Grown don’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that supposed to mean? In my heart it don’t mean a thing. Paul-It means she has to take it if she acts up. You can’t protect her every minute. What’s going to happen when you die? Sethe-…I’ll protect her while I’m live and I’ll protect her when I ain’t (thematic concern) shows Sethe’s extreme love for her children. Paul speaks the truth. Sethe shows how much she cares for her children by trying to protect her.
-pg.57 “…Tell her it’s not about choosing somebody over her—it’s making space for somebody along with her. You got to say it. And if you say it and mean it, then you also got to know you can’t gag me. There’s no way I’m going to hurt her or not take care of what she need if I can, but I can’t be told to keep my mouth shut if she’s acting ugly.” Paul speaks the truth. Like apostle Paul (thematic concern)
-pg.58 “…Jump, if you want to, cause I’ll catch you, girl. I’ll catch you ‘fore you fall. Go as far inside as you need to, I’ll hold your ankles. Make sure you get back out. I’m not saying this because I need a place to stay. ..I’m a walking man, but I been heading in this direction for seven years…But when I got here and sat out there on the porch, waiting for you, well I knew it wasn’t the place I was heading toward, it was you. We can make a life, girl. A life.” This is just like apostle Paul, biblical allusion, because he’s a traveler that speaks the truth. He brings hope by saying he can make a life with Sethe and Denver. Paul is willing to look out for Sethe to by catching her before she falls.
-pg. 59 sky, stripped of blue. The archetype blue in this means sadness. The sky (archetype for fate) is “stripped of sadness” because Sethe, Denver, and Paul are going to the carnival together as a family. This is the first day of hope, after Paul tells Sethe they can make a life together.
-pg.59 sky was white hot at eleven in the morning. The archetype white in this means cleanliness, holiness. The Sky was white hot to show the cleanliness, the holiness in Paul’s intention of being a family with Sethe and Denver.
-pg.59 good-wool castoff for a Christmas present to Baby Sugg. The good-wood castoff symbolizes the poverty-like situation of Sethe and Denver. It symbolizes the scarcity of luxurious items that Sethe has.
-not holding hands. Pg.59 symbolizes the beginnings of love and family togetherness.
-shadow pg. 59 the not holding hands depicts the shyness of Paul and Sethe in becoming a family
-old roses pg. 60 The archetype old roses stand for death. The old roses symbolize the guilt of chopping down the trees.
-sin/ pg.60 “take the sin out of slicing trees for a living” reference to slavery being like a sin because slaves working for masters without pay and being dehumanized are “sliced” out of life. Biblical allusion.
-Two pennies and an insult pg.60 pleasure of seeing white people make a spectacle of themselves. Shows how much suffering slaves went through
-horehand, licorice, peppermint, lemonade pg.61 This symbolizes the happiness of Denver at the carnival and realizes Paul D Garner isn’t that bad because people acknowledged her by saying Hi and getting to eat little sweets.
-shadows of three people. Pg.61. shadows in here symbolize the nearing closeness of the “new” family. The archetype three means in this is spiritual awareness and unity. The shadows of the three people holding hands together shows unity that’s steadily increasing in this family. It also emphasizes the spiritual awareness of Paul, believing they could become a family
-water pg. 62. (Beloved walking out of the water fully dressed) The archetype water in this means resurrection. Beloved is resurrected, being a spirit. Her coming out of the water fully dressed shows the birth and death cycle.
-pg.62 stream. The archetype stream in this means transitional phases of the life cycle. Baptism –Beloved is baptized with death.
-sun pg.63 archetype of wheel warmth and fertility. In this context, it exposes light onto Beloved emphasizing her black dress, which shows she’s evil and full of mystery.
-seeing Beloved, Sethe can’t hold in her urine. The water is rebirth, sign of Sethe’s water breaking upon seeing Beloved, birthing Beloved again. “But there was no stopping after breaking from a breaking womb and there was no stopping now.
-pg.63 cup of water, Beloved’s being thirsty. Water means growth in this because Beloved is feeding her spirit and ends up becoming more and more obsessed with Sethe.
-pg.63 four times filling it. The four-female principle. Thus loves Sethe and uses her female principle to seduce Paul, later on.
-desert pg.63 emphasizes spiritual aridity of Beloved, which is manifested through her obsession with never leaving Sethe’s side
-Beloved pg.64 symbolizes Sethe’s extreme love because she slit Beloved’s throat because she doesn’t want her daughter to suffer through slavery.
-pg.66 Denver’s emerald closet. The archetype green in emerald is for renewal and hope. Because Denver was always going to this closet to play by herself with her imagination, which gives her a sense of renewal, since this place is her place of solitude. Emerald closet gives her hope that things will get better especially because of her strong imagination
-pg.68 sweet bread, sugar. This symbolizes the childlike nature of Beloved. Thus Beloved could always be appeased through any type of sugar. It also symbolizes the selfish, spoiled nature of Beloved because she always wants her way with everything, especially when it concerns Sethe.
Pg. 68 – “Rainwater held on to pine needles for dear life and Beloved could not take her eyes off Sethe.” This quote is a metaphor that compares rainwater and Beloved as they each hold onto something desperately.
Pg. 68 – “In lamplight, and over the flames of the cooking stove, their two shadows clashed and crossed on the ceiling like black swords.” The swords represent a fight or argument. The shadows are a symbol of what is to come and foreshadows the argument between Sethe and Beloved.
Pg. 69 – “…Sethe learned the profound satisfaction Beloved got from storytelling.” The storytelling represents the past and how Beloved was filling in the blanks from when Sethe had killed Beloved, and when she had returned from the dead.
Pg. 69 – “ ‘Tell me,’ said Beloved, smiling a wide happy smile. ‘Tell me your diamonds.’” Diamonds is another symbol which represents the gap in the life of Beloved and when she was absent in Sethe’s life, and shows the link of Beloved and the past.
Pg. 71 – “And there I was, in the worst-looking gown you could imagine.” The gown represents the small bits of freedom that was given to them by the Garners. But the contrast between the gown and the scrappiness of it also shows that although some aspect of their lives might be free, they are still enslaved and looked at differently than normal people.
Pg. 71 – “Beloved filled herself with water from the bucket and watched while Sethe rubbed Denver’s hair with a piece of toweling.” The water, an archetype for life, is used here to show how the spirit of Beloved needs life so much, because she is there unnaturally and shows how she came from death, to life.
Pg. 72 – “ ‘Right on her rib was a circle and a cross burnt right in the skin.’” This is another of many instance of circle imagery in the novel. The cross could also be another reoccurring motif of religion in the novel. The symbol on the rib is also another sign of a dehumanization of slaves and how they were treated as animals, where slaves could only recognize relatives through branding and not by names.
Pg. 73 – “Sethe gathered hair from the comb and leaning back tossed it into the fire. It exploded into stars and it infuriated them” The burning of the hair represents the live burning of slaves and how Sethe was reminded of the burning of slaves and their dehumanized executions.
Pg. 74 – “Nighttime.” The short sentence of reminiscing the past of when her mother was being hanged and the nanny was telling her about Sethe’s birth, represents death and execution of Sethe’s mother.
Pg. 76 – “Women did what strawberry plants did before they shot out their thin vines: the quality of the green changed. Then the vine threads came, then the buds. By the time the white petals died and the mint-colored berry poked out, the leaf shine was gilded tight and waxy.” This quote was a comparison between the fertile green of strawberry plants and the readiness of a woman. Also, the death of the white petals represents the end of innocence. Also, the common usage of comparisons with plants is representative of how slaves knew nothing of the world, except for plants and their growth.
Pg. 79 – “From all those Negroes, Beloved was different. Her shining, her new shoes. It bothered him.” The mention of the shoes/feet is symbolic of the lack of a home for the runaway slaves. They have always been moving from house to house and always staying in different places.
Pg. 79 – “Desperately thirsty for black blood, without which it could not live, the dragon swam the Ohio at will.” The dragon is a metaphor of the KKK and the destruction they cause to black Americans who were freed of slavery in the north.
Pg. 81 – “Listen up. Let me tell you something. A man ain’t a goddamn ax. Chopping, hacking, busting every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down because they’re inside.” The comparison between the ax and the man are symbolic of the continuing societal expectations of not only women, but men as well. It showed that even though men seemed physically tough, they still had emotional difficulties.
Pg. 82 – “The day had gone blue without its sun, but she could still make out the black silhouettes of trees in the meadow beyond.” The blue is an archetype for the truth, which is symbolic for the revealing of the truth of what happened to Halle as Paul D explains to Sethe why he had not shown up. The blackness of the trees is archetypal for the evil/sin of life, which symbolizes the evilness that Halle had witnessed.
Pg. 84 – “Men, boys, little girls, women. The wildness that shot up into the eye, the moment the lips were yanked back.” The idea of the iron bit in their mouths represents the dehumanization of slaves as they were treated like imprisoned horses, worth only a certain amount of money.
Pg. 85 – “ ‘The roosters,’ he said. ‘Walking past the roosters looking at them look at me.’” The roosters in this quote are symbolic of the dehumanization of slaves once again. It shows how even the roosters were given more freedom than slaves. It shows how even though they weren’t as human as they were, society had made them believe that they were much more human and gave them human characteristics. The rooster, who is the “king” of the hen, has power, but the slave has none.
Pg. 85 – “ ‘Not right off. But I hadn’t took twenty steps before I seen him. He come down off the fence post there and sat on the tub.’” The tub is a symbol of luxury that the Mister Rooster has, but not Paul D. It shows how even Rooster had a tub to relax in and have luxury in, but Paul D had nothing like that.
Pg. 86 – “He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be. Its lid rusted shut. He would not pry it loose now in front of this sweet sturdy woman, for if she got a whiff of the contents it would shame him.” The rusted and closed tobacco tin is the symbol of the dark past that Paul D holds in his “rememory” and how he had locked it away in his chest. The absence of his heart also shows how he had sacrificed his willingness to love and passion for life in order to lock away the past and protect other people from it.
Pg. 86 – “Working dough. Working, working dough. Nothing better than that to start the day’s serious work of beating back the past.” The beating of the dough symbols the past and how she had to force her past into the back of her mind. By beating it down and wearing it down, she makes it weaker and not so strong in her mind.
-Pg 87: “Upstairs Beloved was dancing”: a show of happiness from Beloved when only moments before she was clawing at her throat. Beloved’s moods are very capricious, changing at any whim.
-“Black skirt”: protection, death, evil mystery, power. Beloved is always characterized as wearing black. She is very mysterious and powerful. She came back from the dead, as Sethe and Denver believe her to be, and although she isn’t exactly “evil” yet in this part of the story, she soon changes and her actions turn for the worse.
-Pg 88: “dark”: Beloved says that she came from the dark. Darkness represents evil. Therefore, it can be said that Beloved came from an evil place and will do evil to the family living in 124. However, the dark can also be represented as night. In that case, it could the death of something. Beloved, who comes from being dead, could be saying that she was dead and after crossing the bridge (next archetype), she was able to be reborn into flesh. It could also mean the death of her spiritual being that was in the house.
-“bridge”: Beloved explains that she crossed a bridge. Bridges are the crossing places between two places. For Beloved, the bridge she talks of is probably the bridge between life and death.
-“daytime”: usually means a birth of something new. When Beloved first came out of the water, she came out in the daytime. Her coming out in the daytime could mean her rebirth into flesh and a change in the story for what’s to come.
-Pg 89: “stream” and “water”: the mystery of creation; birth-death-resurrection; purification and redemption; fertility and growth. Denver asks if Beloved remembers playing by the stream and Beloved replies that she doesn’t and that she was in the water. Beloved saying that she was in the water could mean that she was in the womb. When she got out, she was born.
-“Her eyes stretched to the limit, black as the all-night sky.”: Beloved is consumed with staying by Sethe’s side, her black eyes are chaotic and mysterious. No one knows why she is there and no one knew who she was until Denver sees the tell-tale scar on Beloved neck. Night is usually the death of something. Beloved’s stay at 124 will result in the death of something. Later on in the story the reader knows that Sethe is dying as Beloved grows.
-Pg 90: “river”: death and rebirth; the flowing of time into eternity; transitional phases of the life cycle. Sethe was by the river and that was where Denver was born. It seemed like forever for Sethe because it was in the daytime and she was scared that she would get caught. This is also a transitional phase for Sethe’s life because she is at the crux of becoming a free slave and there is also the birth of her new daughter.
-Pg 91: “dark woods”: Sethe walks through the dark woods to get to safety. Darkness means evil; the woods were a very dangerous place for Sethe.
-Pg 91: Amy Denver – she’s a Christian symbol for the Good Samaritan, Amy means love and gentleness, she and Sethe are two different races but she still helps her, also a symbol of white people who are good and don’t believe in slavery
-“She is not so afraid at night because she is the color of it”: Sethe is dark-skinned, so although the night is very dangerous because she is just a nineteen years old pregnant girl, she isn’t scared as much because the night provides a cover for her.
-Pg 92: “blood”: Denver adds blood to the story of her birth. She gives life to make the story sound more delightful to Beloved’s ears.
-“dark quilt with two orange patches”: orange stands for projects needing a push, abundance, fall. Baby Sugg’s quilt was dull with patches of color that gave the quilt life. Baby Sugg’s needed a push in her life to get her motivated to live. After Sethe’s incident, Baby Sugg’s lost the will to live. She lived only for the colors to get on her quilt.
-Pg 93: “tree…trunk…full of sap…branches…leaves…blossoms, just as white”: Amy, the whitegirl who saves Sethe, describes the tree in detail. The tree means life’ its consistence, growth, proliferation, generative and regenerative processes, inexhaustible life, and immortality. The tree on Sethe’s back shows her pain, but it also serves to remind her of her hardships and how she overcame them. White is innocence, purity, cleanliness, and holiness. Sethe was pretty innocent and pure, but after her tree, she learned and grew to know the harsh reality of the world.
-Pg 94: “Sleeping with the sun in your face…”: The sun is warmth. Feeling the sun on one’s face and being able to sleep with it on your face is a show of freedom. Being able to feel it in the day and sleeping shows that one isn’t restricted by anything at that moment. Sethe never felt that because she was a slave and she always had to work in the daytime. She never had time for herself.
-Pg 95: “sun that lit her hair”: Amy has a lot of sun imagery surrounding her. This further provides the distinction between her position and Sethe’s; her free life and Sethe’s slave life. Amy isn’t free, necessarily, because she seems to be an indentured servant. Still, Amy is white and has more freedom by the color of her skin alone.
-Pg 96: “blue Kentucky light”: blue stands for loyalty, protection, peace, calmness, and spirituality, sadness. Amy and Sethe are in a calm setting at the moment. Sethe is in pain from her back and her swollen stomach, but she is safe at that point and as they look on, they have a feeling of peace and calm.
-Pg 97: “river”: Amy will take the river to go to Boston. This is her transition in life.
-Pg 98: “As soon as Sethe got close to the river her own water broke loose to join it.”: The river means life and the transitional phases of the life cycles. Sethe and Amy both thought that the baby would die but in the river, the baby stirs to life and is ready to come out.
-“four summer stars”: four is the number that symbolizes the life cycles, the circle, and the female principle. Summer is a season where romance occurs; where the characters encounter something amazing. Stars are a sign of good fortune, hope, love, fertility, and harmony. Sethe is giving birth to Denver in the river under the four summer stars. The three people there are all females. Denver’s birth is a sign of hope for Sethe. Amy and Sethe experience the birth of a baby and that is their romantic encounter.
-Pg 99: “On a riverbank in the cool of a summer evening two women…”: Rivers are
- Pg 100: “Twilight”: the time period where day and night are conjoined. This is the part where Amy and Sethe part ways; then end of their relationship because they will never see one another again.
-“daylight”: Amy says “that she wouldn’t be caught dead in daylight”. The daylight brings light on a lot of things and shows the truth in the situation. Amy is white, Sethe is black, and they can’t be together.
Pg 101: “Sword and shield”: Baby Suggs was cleaning Sethe’s body and she told her to “lay down [her] sword and shield”, meaning Sethe should just relax. She doesn’t have to attack and she doesn’t have to defend herself from anything while she is at 124 and with Baby Suggs.
“Down by the riverside . … she placed one by one on a bank where clear water rushed on below”: the river is an archetype for life, as it ends in death and also is an archetype for baptism. Sethe lays down her “heavy knives of defense” and that symbolizes her letting go of her past in slavery and the beginning of her acceptance of freedom.
“an arch built or a robe sewn”: a biblical allusion. God asks of many people in the Bible to do something for Him and His people. Halle was demanded to take on a lot from what Sethe had to endure. Halle lost his manhood that day because he couldn’t do anything to save Sethe from what the schoolteacher and his nephews were doing to her.
“Baby Suggs had danced in the sunlight”: Baby Suggs was open with her love and in the sunlight, everything was open. An archetype for goodness, light covered Baby Suggs until the incident with Sethe and her children. Dancing in the sunlight is another form of freedom as well.
Pg102: “where the lamp burned all night long”: During the Underground Railroad, houses who were sympathetic to the cause kept a lamp outside of their houses as a signal of a welcoming home.
“uncalled, unrobed, unanointed”: Baby Suggs is a Christian symbol for Jesus. She has a lot of similarities to Jesus and His work. Jesus was a person who wasn’t called, robed, or anointed and he was “an unchurched preacher”, preaching wherever He went.
“took her great heart to the Clearing…”: The Clearing is a biblical allusion to Mt. Sinai.
Pg 103: ‘“Let the children come!”’: Jesus said the same exact thing in the Bible. Another allusion to Baby Suggs being a symbol of Jesus.
“She did not tell them they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glorybound pure. She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace hey could have was the grace they could imagine.”: Similar to the sermon that Jesus gave, and also dissimilar to Jesus, Baby Suggs is undoubtedly a religious figure.
Pg 104: “four-part harmony”: Four is an archetype for the four elements, earth, and nature. The sermons that Baby Suggs gave were very influential in getting people to come together and just be together as one.
‘“Those white things have taken all I had or dreamed”’: White is an archetype for purity, innocence, cleanliness, and holiness which is ironic because the “white” that Baby Suggs is talking about is the whitepeople. The whitepeople had taken everything from her: 50 years of her life, her body, and her son.
Pg 105:“Green blessed place”: green is an archetype for growth, fertility renewal spring, things that grow. The Clearing is a place full of happy memories of Baby Suggs. It was a place of spiritual growth.
“Decay of berries”: After Baby Suggs just collapsed, the Clearing was deserted and the plant life there was overgrown and the berries that were so ripe, also died. The religious fervor and the spirituality of the people were dead.
Pg 106: “three coloredpeople”: three is an archetype for the male principle. Sethe sees three males, two boys and an older man, when she goes out to find a boat to take her to Baby Suggs’ house.
Pg 108: “white rag”: white is an archetype for purity and innocence. Ella explains the signal that Stamp Paid gives for another crosser with a child in tow.
Pg 109: “She led Sethe to the keeping room and, by the light of a spirit lamp, bathed her in sections, starting with her face…” “They had bathed her in sections,…and greased her back”(Pg 115): The whole process of Baby Suggs cleaning Sethe’s body is a biblical allusion to the cleansing of a female who went through a yearlong process of getting ready for the marriage. Sethe was getting cleaned up to see her sons and her already crawling? baby.
“She helped Sethe to a rocker and lowered her feet into a bucket of salt water and juniper”: biblical allusion to the feet cleaning of the disciples by Jesus before the Last Supper. Baby Suggs cleans Sethe’s feet. Baby Suggs is a Christian symbol for Jesus. Sethe is Baby Suggs’ disciple.
Pg 111: ‘“Maybe they’ll light his way.”’: Baby Suggs tells Sethe to put on her crystal earrings to be a beacon to light Halle’s way to get home. Light is an archetype for goodness. The people in 124 are essentially good people.
“wake up at dawn”: the dawn is an archetype for a new beginning; it is the beginning of a new day. Sethe learns of the freedom of one’s own life and the many possibilities that one has when free.
Pg 114: “walk on water life”: Sethe’s life has been full of experiences that only few to none can empathize with. Another biblical allusion, this one alludes to Peter walking on the water when Jesus tells him to have faith. Sethe had a lot of moments in her life where she lived off faith.
Pg 116: “hands”: symbol for work
“sucking iron”: Paul D was forced to have a bit in his mouth as a punishment. This is a symbol of dehumanization of slaves. Slaves weren’t considered to be humans, so the whitepeople had no qualms about putting such punishments on the slaves.
Pg 117: “so full of her offering”: another biblical allusion, Sethe has a lot to offer to her family now.
Pg 118: “she had milk enough for all”: milk is a symbol as a life-giving supplement. Sethe feels comfortable in her present setting. She has enough.
Pg 120: “four times…”: The number four is an archetype for the female principle. Denver went out of the house four times and she looked into Lady Jones’ class four times. The number also is associated with the circle and the life cycle. Denver is growing into a phase of her life where she starts to learn and she gets interested in getting educated.
“seven”: Denver is seven years old. The number seven is the completion of a cycle and the perfect order. She learns her words from the Bible. But it is also at this age that Nelson Lord told her about her mother’s past. She loses her innocence and at this age shuts herself inside 124 and becomes a recluse, not interacting with any other than her mother and the ghost.
Pg 121: “black nostrils of a sparrow”: black is an archetype for evil and the sparrow is just another bird. There are a lot of bird images throughout the story.
“a sign of forgiveness”: another biblical allusion/Christian symbolism. Denver wants Beloved to forgive her. Denver puts a lot of emotion on what Beloved thinks of her.
-pg.125 (Mr. Rooster) Mr. Rooster is a source of immense agitation for Paul D, which is shown in the context "out of sight of Mister's sight, away, praise His name, from the smiling boss of roosters...Paul D began to tremble." Paul D begins to tremble because he no longer has to maintain the facade of cheerful happiness because Mr. Rooster isn't there. Mister Rooster's presence emphasizes the restrictive lifestyle of slavery. Mr. Rooster portrays freedom, freedom to eat whenever and roam about the farm freely. Mr. Rooster can also arguably be the foil for slavery or even Paul D. because both are living creatures with a personal of freedom yet Mr. Rooster has more freedom. This is also the difference between the rooster and Paul d and the rooster and slavery. Thus to Paul D, the rooster is the "smiling boss" because the rooster seems content, having the freedom to roam about and is the boss, which shows the limited extent of freedom slaves have. The rooster being the boss emphasizes how the rooster has more power than Paul d, a slave, though it is only a rooster.
-pg.125 (praise His name) biblical allusion. This shows that the slaves still had some sort of faith that gave them hope. It shows the slaves still had "praise", however little it may be, in a difficult circumstance. This phrase also seems to be used like a saying that's commonly said among slaves, whether it is uttered with faith or by custom. The important meaning of this phrase seems to exhibit the slaves' beliefs in a Higher power.
-pg.125 (Paul d) Paul D's trembling shows that he has a facade of strength that he may show to some people. The fact that he trembles when no one is around, it shows how hard it is for Paul to appear courageous. Like Christ, Paul d suffers and has to appear courageous to bring hope to the other slaves.
-pg. 125 (ditches) The ditches symbolize the despair slaves went through day by day. While it symbolized despair, the ditches also symbolize a meager source of comfort. Because in that 'darkness" the slaves can't see their discomfort and forget about the hardship by melting into the background and is their only source of rest. The ditches symbolize helplessness as well because the slaves can't do anything to better their circumstance.
-pg.125 (three walls, three feet). The archetype three used in these 2 tidbits of sentences emphasize the male principle of white men, who dominate over the slaves. It also shows spiritual awareness of the dire situation the slaves suffer through.
-pg. 126 (chains, leg iron, (hand forged iron (pg.127)) these two images symbolize the degree of helplessness the slaves felt. It shows how much the slaves were trapped in bondage. It also symbolizes the restrictions slaves had upon them.
-pg.126 (box) the box explicitly symbolizes the restrictive nature of slavery. It symbolizes the confinement slaves’ faces, "confined" to a prejudiced society that judged them on their outer appearance, confined to a box where they have no freedom in the human sense but the animal sense. They were free in the animal sense because the slaves were "free" only in working hard for their master, eating what they're given, and urinating in specific areas.
-pg.126 (dew , mist) The archetype water in the dew and the mist symbolize the birth and death cycle of slavery- slaves are born slaves and die as slaves. From their birth until their death, the dew and the mist show that despite the passing of time, slaves are doomed to continue being slaves.
-pg.126 (hammer at dawn) The hammer at dawn symbolize the power of the white men and the weakness of the slaves, because the slaves have to obey their white master's will with a hammer for their duty of the day. With the hammer at dawn, whatever feelings of resentment and rebellion slaves had melted away and became the perfect example of obedience. The archetype dawn (sunrise) brings enlightenment of the slaves’ condition of being rebellious to obedient with the hammer at dawn.
-pg.126 (rifle shot) The rifle shot symbolizes the systematic order of slavery. From the rifle shot, slaves arise to begin another day of obeying their master's orders. The rifle shot also signifies the authoritative nature of the slave masters.
-pg.127 (dogs)The dogs symbolize the slave master's fear of their slaves running away and it symbolizes the greedy nature of the white slave masters as well by slave masters not being satisfied with authority over dogs to do their bidding, they had to be satisfied with human labor.
-pg.127 (a bit of foreskin with him to Jesus)This shows slaves often chose death by getting shot in the head by a gunshot over life in slavery because they feel they can experience a form of freedom/equality in Heaven since they can't find it in life. Thus by circumcising themselves and then getting shot, the slaves believed they could find genuine happiness in Heaven.
-pg.127 (retched) The retched not only emphasizes Paul’s bitterness but all the slaves bitterness as well. The retching symbolizes how many the slaves wanted to purge the feelings of confinement out of their system.
-pg.127 (Hi-Man) The hi-Man symbolizes the facade Paul put up to show his cheerfulness. This was the responsibility of Paul to say hi at dawn and hoo at evening because it seemed he "alone knew what was enough, what was too much, when things were over, when the time had come."
-pg.127 (chain danced over the fields) the fields symbolize unspoiled beauty and the limited freedom the slaves had in which they could enjoy seeing nature, while confined in chains.
-pg.128 (songs) the song symbolizes the yearnings and sorrows of the slaves when reflecting upon the past and the present.
-pg.128 (love songs of Mr. Death) the love songs symbolize the longing for death to escape the harsh conditions of life through slavery. The (flirt whom folks called life) - the flirt symbolizes the anguish the slaves feel because life gives them false hope.
-pg.128 THEMATIC "Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it...life was dead" It explains the false hope life brings.
-pg.129 (lock) the lock again emphasizes the power of the slave masters.
-pg.130 THEMATIC "Others just plunged...Hi Man was the Delivery." This explains the importance of unity and teamwork that the slaves learned to have towards each other.
-pg.131 (Blue Ridge Mountains) The archetype blue in the blue Ridge mountains show the sense of security about this place. This was where the Paul d and the gang felt safe after running away from Georgia.
-g.132 (Paul d) "Paul D...no chance of success’. Paul had considerable influence over the forty six men.
-pg.132 (North, spring) They symbolize hope for a better life to Paul D.
-pg.132 THEMATIC "Only the tree flowers. As they go, you go. You will be where you want to be when they are gone" This can be about how following tree flowers path can be a healing process.
-pg.134 (Paul d) beloved moved Paul d out of the house eventually because she's jealous of Sethe’s affection toward Paul.
-pg.134 (breakfast) This symbolizes the established routine in Sethe’s household. It also symbolizes the stability in Sethe's relationship toward Paul D
-pg.135 (rocker) rocker symbolizes the comfort Paul feels because of his back but guilt at the same time because he's finding reasons to sleep in it instead of spending the whole night with Sethe.
-pg.135 (Paul and house fits) Paul d having house fits shows that little by little Beloved is moving Paul out of the house. From the rocker to Baby Sugg's room, to the storeroom to the cold house.
-pg.136 (124 description) "The cold house was separated from the main part of 124. The cold house had two croaker sacks full of sweet potatoes situated near lard can. In Ohio seasons are theatrical...turn and look" The cold house is a shed.
-pg.136 (autumn) It was autumn when Paul moved into the shed after being forced out of 124. The archetypal autumn means the onset of evil, aging person, a dying society. Within the context of the book, autumn means the onset of evil, the onset of beloved who comes to seduce him and succeeds. By doing this she unravels Paul’s tobacco tin.
-pg.136 (bottles of blood and gold) The archetype blood represents Paul’s hidden emotion in the tobacco tin, and Beloved's passion and emotion to Sethe which makes her determined to rid anything of Sethe’s attention besides her. The archetype gold represents cowardice of Paul d for moving out of 124 into the shed instead of confronting Beloved.
-pg.136 (newspaper) the newspaper symbolizes Paul’s attempts to cover his cowardice of Beloved.
-pg.136 (beloved's skirts) Beloved's skirts symbolize seduction. With the dropping of her skirts, Beloved seduces Paul d.
-pg.137 (lard can) this symbolizes Paul’s attempts to keep himself pure and not fall to temptation by not looking at Beloved's legs that aren't enclosed in a skirt.
-pg.137 THEMATIC "when good people take you in and treat you good, you ought to try to be good back. You don't...Sethe loves you. Much as her own daughter. You know that." Paul tries to rebuke Beloved for her attempts at trying to seduce him. This is also the moral philosophy slaves lived by???
-pg. 137 (Lot's wife) biblical allusion. Lot's wife looked back when Sodom and Gomorrah were being destroyed so she became a pillar of salt because God told Lot and his family to not look back while this was happening. Paul knew this and kept looking at the lard can because he didn't want to be lost like lot's wife.
-pg.137 (tobacco tin). This symbolizes Paul’s hidden passion and emotion breaking free of the tin by Beloved's seduction. Over the years Paul learned to confine emotion in his tin because masters punished slaves for their passion and emotion. Slaves had to be docile and obedient. Thus Beloved awakens Paul's passion.
-pg.137 (red heart) the archetype red means passion and emotion of Paul d.
pg.138 THEMATIC "But to be looked at in turn was beyond appetite; it was breaking through her own skin to a place where hunger hadn't been discovered...It was lovely. Not to be stared at, not seen, but being pulled into view by the interested, uncritical eyes of the other. Having her lips, nose, chin caressed as they might be if she were a moss rose a gardener paused to admire.” thematic concern is loneliness and attention, in Denver’s point of view, which can be juxtaposed to Beloved's point of view of affectionate attention.
-pg.138 (...might be if she were a moss ROSE a gardener paused to admire.) the archetypal rose, a type of flower, means youth. the moss rose symbolizes the Denver's youth, which explains her desire for affection.
-pg.138 (wide black eyes) the archetypal color black means evil, mystery power in this context. The wide black eyes of Beloved shows how evil, mysterious, and power-hungry she is. It shows her mysterious character because no one in the story knows where she's really from. Her black eyes show she's evil-seducing Paul d and nearly almost choking Sethe under the pretense of a "massage". Beloved is also power-hungry for Sethe's affection and attention. Thus she moves Paul d out to the cold house.
-pg.139 (what kind of whites was they) the archetype white means purity, innocence, cleanliness, and holiness. Yet in this context, ironically whites mean the complete opposite. It shows the extent of evil in the "whites" especially of their treatment toward slaves.
-pg.139 (bridge) The archetype of bridge is the link between two worlds; between life and death. Beloved uses this archetype to explain how she came into existence. Beloved states that she was “under a bridge.” Her being under a bridge states that she was neither alive nor dead. When Beloved passes under a bridge and comes out of the water, she takes on a human form.
-pg.139 (dress, shoes) Beloved’s dress and shoes symbolize mystery because Beloved can't remember how she got them, barely remembers her mom, and only remembers standing on a bridge and a white man in her past.
-pg.139 (cold house) the cold house symbolizes isolation. It stands for isolation because there Paul D is isolated from the family, cast out surreptitiously by Beloved. It is literally a cold house because it's freezing in there, thus Paul uses newspapers for extra warmth. it's metaphorically a cold house because only Paul slept there alone, before Beloved seduced him.
-pg.140 THEMATIC "...for I she pressed too hard, she might lose the penny that the held-out palm wanted, and lose, therefore, the place beyond appetite. It was better to feast; to have permission to be the looker because the old hunger-- the before Beloved hunger that drove her into boxwood and cologne for just a taste of a life, to feel it bumpy and not flat--was out of the question. Looking kept it at bay." It shows what loneliness slave children must have felt growing up during liberation. It shows that despite liberation, slaves still felt the pain. Thus they felt the loneliness of their pain.
-pg.140 (earrings) Sethe's earrings symbolize not only the limited kindness of Mrs. Garner (white people like Amy)but it also symbolizes the mysteriousness of Beloved's character. It shows the mysteriousness because Beloved knew about the earrings before Sethe even mentioned it.
-pg.140 (put out the licking fire) the fire in this context symbolizes Beloved's metaphorical lust for Sethe's affection. Thus no chore that is assigned fails to discourage and hinder Beloved's affection for Sethe.
-pg.140 (oranges, cologne, good wool skirts) the color orange in oranges symbolizes Denver's needing a push to have genuine companionship. The cologne symbolizes Denver's desire for love and attention through attracting other people through her scent "personality". The good wool skirts symbolize Denver's longings for warmth.
-pg.141 (snow) the archetype winter stands for despair, which in this context explains Denver's despair. Denver suffers despair because she has to always be careful with what she says to Sethe and beloved because she doesn't want to lose Beloved's companionship.
-pg.143 (sunsets, star) the archetype sunset means death. The archetype stars mean protection. By Denver saying she will "forgo the most violent of sunsets, stars as fat as dinner plates...if it comes from her Beloved", it shows Denver will go through death and protect Beloved because she desires Beloved's companionship.
-pg.144 THEMATIC "Death is a skipped meal...brakes her sobs. She won't put up with another leaving, another trick. Waking up to find one brother then another not at the bottom of the bed, his foot jabbing her spine...and when she got around to worrying about what would be the case if Sethe dies or Paul d took her away, ...in the dark." thematic concern is loneliness, how hard it is to grow up in the post civil war
-pg.146 (Paul D) at Sweet Home, the five men, including Paul d were "allowed, encouraged to correct Garner, even defy him. To invent ways of doing things; to see what was needed and attack it without permission. To buy a mother, choose a horse or a wife, handle guns, even learn reading I they wanted to--but they didn't want to since nothing important to them could be put down on paper. "It shows the Garners raised their slaves to be men, with limited source of freedom at Sweet Home, but not anywhere else.
-pg.145 THEMATIC "Was that it? Is that where the manhood lay? In the naming done by a white man who was supposed to know? Who gave them the privilege not of working but of deciding how to? No. In their relationship with garner was true metal: they were believed and trusted, but most of all they were listened to. "Thematic concern-manhood. The question here is whether being a man, is freedom and if having the choice makes one a man.
-pg.146 (Schoolteacher) The schoolteacher symbolizes restriction. The schoolteacher is Mr. Garner's foil. Whereas Garner treated the Sweet Home men as men and taught them to be men, the schoolteacher never listened to the slave's opinions for he believed it would lessen his authority.
-pg.148 (winter afternoon) in the winter afternoon, the archetype winter means Paul D. Garner's despair of being unfaithful to Sethe by sleeping with Beloved, when Sethe and him were trying to become a family. It show's Paul's despair because Paul wanted to protect Sethe from pain and not cause it.
-pg.150 (Paul d) "I want you pregnant, Sethe. Would you do that for me?" This shows how Paul always wants to protect Sethe from pain. So to better the situation of his sin of sleeping with Beloved in the cold house, Paul asks Sethe to have his baby to consecrate their family life together. By doing this, Paul would no longer be an outsider at 124. Also, through this Paul believed he would no longer be seduced by beloved because if there is a baby, he would feel more responsibility and guilt, which will prevent him from wallowing in sin with Beloved. Thus, it shows Paul D was a righteous man, or rather tried to be as much as possible.
-pg.151 (mercy. Christian symbolism) "little mercy-something given to them on purpose to mark what they were feeling so they would remember it later on when they needed to..."just like God's mercy in sending Jesus, snow is sent which is a merciful sign to both Sethe and Paul of their willingness to consecrate their family life. It's merciful because Paul and Sethe really want to be a family by desiring to have a baby together.
-pg.153 (Sethe's bed) Sethe's bed symbolizes protection from Beloved and consecration of their family vows. Sethe commands Paul to no longer sleep in the cold house and on Sethe’s bed they will attempt to have a baby together, which consecrates their family vows.
-pg.154 THEMATIC "Needing to be good enough, alert enough, strong enough, that caring-again. Having to stay alive just that much longer. O Lord, she thought, deliver me. Unless carefree, mother love was a killer..." This shows how much love slave mothers had for their children, all the more stronger with the constant threat of never knowing when their child might be gone. This shows that slave mothers felt immense stress.
-pg.155 (washing the dishes) Denver's washing [of the dishes] symbolize Denver's frantic attempts of trying to wash the fear of loneliness out of her life.
-pg.155 (back tooth) the back tooth symbolizes Beloved's stubborn, childlike strength and nature. It shows her strength by her initial reaction of not crying. However it also shows her childlike nature by crying after Denver asks her why she doesn't cry. The back tooth also symbolizes Beloved's fear of losing herself little by little whenever Sethe left for work. When Sethe wasn't near, she felt like her legs were being detached and it was difficult for her to keep her head on her neck.
-pg.154 (small white tooth). Ironically the archetype white has double meanings. it shows Beloved's genuine innocence in her genuine fear of being left behind by Sethe, yet at the same time Beloved is not pure, innocent, and clean but manipulative of trying to get Sethe's affection and jealous of others receiving Sethe's attentions.
-pg.156 (turtles came out of the water) Turtles symbolize mystic creatures. The turtles represent Beloved’s future actions. The purpose of the turtle imagery is to give foreshadowing. The turtles portray the thoughts of Beloved.
-pg.156 (blood red bird) The blood red bird symbolizes Beloved’s desire. The archetype of red color stands for passion and emotion. The blood red bird symbolizes Beloved’s passion and emotion for Sethe. Her passion becomes stronger, which is shown through her jealousy, whenever Sethe goes to Paul D.
-pg. 160 (eating blackberries) Stamp Paid brings Baby Suggs blackberries, “to eat them was like being in church… you felt anointed.” Stamp Paid gets the blackberries by reaching through “blood-drawing thorns” which are like the thorns of Jesus’ crown. Christian symbolism.
-pg. 161 (Baby’s feast) Baby is compared to Jesus, preaching in the Clearing and then also when she makes a feast out of a bucket of blackberries and everything else, this parallelism to Christ angers the other blacks, “loaves and fishes were His powers – they did not belong to an ex-slave.” Biblical allusion to when Jesus fed a whole crowd w/ several loaves of bread and some fish.
-pg. 162 (birds) a lot of bird imagery in this book, this is when Baby realizes party people disapprove of her having so much abundance, she can hear the birds
-pg 168 (city of water) Mr. Garner, when freeing Baby Suggs, says the place is a “city of water” where “everything travels by water,” water – rebirth, river – life and also death: this is where Beloved dies and also comes back to life
-pg 173 (Baby’s preaching) Baby’s “own brand of preaching,” Christian symbolism, parallels to Christian hierarchy, Baby Suggs, holy, Baby is like the archetypal mentor, she’s wise, she takes care of everyone in her house, she is a role model and the archetypal “mother figure” to Sethe and her children, Baby is also the archetypal Earth mother, symbolic of fruition, abundance, fertility, offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those with whom she comes in contact
-pg 175 (four horsemen) Four horsemen come for Sethe after she runs away, schoolteacher, nephew, slave catcher, and sheriff, one for each of Sethe’s children, Allusion to the four horsemen of the Apocalypse
blood of the boys on the floor, blood of Beloved on Sethe, red symbolism – life and death
Four also in Chapter 18 (pg. 184) – Stamp Paid and Baby expect to see something from the water, a rebirth of the white evil coming to get Sethe, but it comes down the Bluestone Road, four white folks
-pg. 177 (Sethe’s eyes) Sethe’s eyes are black after she kills Beloved and the men come to take her back to Sweet Home, black – archetype for death, evil, mystery, “as black as her skin, she looked blind”
summertime, but the sheriff is reminded of winter, winter – despair, death; Ohio winters are accentuated, even in freedom, Sethe can’t find peace, past keeps coming back to haunt her in a cycle, like winter, it keeps coming back
-pg 179 (red puddle) Baby and Sethe struggle over Denver b/c Sethe is trying to nurse her while she has blood soaked on her chest, Baby slips in red puddle (red – blood, life) and loses to Sethe, Denver drinks her sister’s blood, irony? Whites say blacks as cannibalistic (pg 177)
-pg 182 (Ohio River) river provides work in the city, rivers are archetypal for life, but often seen as ending in death, river provides work for Paul D. and its “jammed” with all livestock and animals, all symbolic of life, but they’ll all be slaughtered soon
-pg 185 (Sethe as bird) Sethe’s described as a bird, strength, lasting love, out of love for her children, she gathers them up to make sure they don’t go back to Sweet Home, she “flew… snatching… like a hawk on the wing… her face beaked, how her hands worked like claws.”
-pg 187 (circles) Paul D. finds out from Stamp Paid what Sethe did to her children, he confronts her with the newspaper article that was about her trial, she keeps spinning around in circles, “like a slow but steady wheel,” she’s spinning to avoid the subject, round-a-bout, circles symbolic of cycles, eternity, completions, a cycle of existence, coming home, Sethe has to keep coming back to what she did to Beloved, she can never forget even when someone good comes into her life, she “circling him the way she was circling the subject. Round and round, never changing direction.”, circles present throughout the whole chapter as Sethe avoids the subject, trying to avoid the fact of what she did, the cycle of her life
-pg 188 (sunlight) Halle and Sethe can only see each other by sunlight, sunlight – goodness, positive, hope, renewal, they recognize each other, sunlight is the only way they can know each other and come to really love each other, also present during their “first time” in the cornfield
-pg 194 (four, forest) “You got two feet, Sethe, not four…” “and right then a forest sprang up between them.” Four again, slaves are compared to animals by the whites, Garner even says to his nephew how to treat the creatures, compares them to horses, even dogs, the forest symbolizes trees, growth, also sinister, forest blocks them, ruins their relationship, “ ‘So long,’ she murmured from the far side of the trees.”
-pg 202 (Stamp Paid) Stamp Paid feels obligated to Sethe, but he would “rely on the power of Jesus Christ to deal with things older, but not stronger, than He Himself was.”
-pg. 204 (Four days) four days after Paul D. tells Sethe she doesn’t have four feet, she “rummaged among the shoes of strangers,” symbolism of shoes, feet, Baby Suggs being a cobbler, four represents – feminine, evil, something bad happens and Sethe goes looking through shoes, something she didn’t have during her hard times, while she’s following Baby Suggs’ advice
-pg. 204 (28) seven and four, also a circle, a cycle of life, symbolic of a woman’s menstruation cycle, Sethe was only at 124 for 28 days before the Sweet Home men came to get her “twenty-eight days of having women friends, a mother-in-law, and all her children together.” After 28 days, one cycle of happiness, Sethe had to experience death, sadness again “twenty-eight happy days were followed by eighteen year of disapproval and a solitary life.” “Was that the pattern?” Sethe is happy for a short time, and then after a “cycle” she lives alone and unhappily
pg. 205 (trees, birds) trees like “the live oak and soughing pine” “enclose them (Sethe, Beloved, Denver)” when they’re ice-skating, their skirts “flew like wings,” they’re free, birds symbolize love for one another, they’re a happy trio now that Paul D. is gone, three women, the trees are life, nature, then (pg. 206) while skating, Sethe falls, and lands “on all fours.” She’s crawling on the ice like an animal that she didn’t want to be
pg. 207 (three) Beloved sings a tune of “three notes” that Sethe made up for her children, it’s a lullaby that only her children would know, three symbolizes – something, this is when Sethe realizes that Beloved is her daughter, the daughter that she got killed when the Sweet Home men came to get her
pg. 208 (white, blue) white – symbolizes purity, innocence, cleanliness, holiness, “Sethe wiped the white satin coat from the inside of the pan… ascended the lily-white stairs like a bride, winter permanent.” She’s at peace after finding that Beloved is her daughter, the stairs are what Beloved loved as a baby, painted white, an innocent child, Sethe feels at peace w/ the ghost in her house at last
“By the time Sethe was released, she had exhausted blue…” Baby was craving the color blue after she realized that no one warned them about the white people coming and her preaching did nobody any good, when she takes to her bed, she wants blue – symbolic of protection, peace, calmness, spirituality, sadness, the blue is Baby’s sadness and pain even when she’s free, she wants protection and peace, her spirituality is fading so she craves the peace that color might bring her
-pg 209 (red leaves) red again, blood, life, COURAGE, Stamp Paid walks across red leaves when he’s trying to get the courage to go talk to Sethe, he feels apologetic for Paul D’s leaving, but he doesn’t have the courage to ring her doorbell, emphasizes Stamp’s lack of courage, his guilt toward Sethe, pg 213- he hoped that although Baby craved color, she wouldn’t crave red, red is bloody and evil, he finds a red ribbon in the river tied to someone’s scalp, red symbolizes blood, the pain of the blacks at the hands of the white people, only ugliness, he clutches this later again when trying to approach Sethe’s house for “strength” to knock on their door
-pg 221 (Biblical allusion/Christian symbolism to rebirth) “You know as well as I do that people who die bad don’t stay in the ground” – Ella, “Jesus Christ himself didn’t…” Jesus was violently killed/crucified, and he came back, Beloved is like an evil representation of this kind of reincarnation, she comes back but does not bring good to the house, symbolic of rebirth, alluding to Jesus’ rising after three days
Pg. 236-7 – “The one I managed to have milk for and to get it to her even after they stole it; after they handled me like I was a cow, no, the goat, back behind the stable because it was too nasty to stay in with the horses.” The comparison of Sethe with the goat once again symbolizes the reoccurring motif of the dehumanization of slaves.
Pg. 237 – “Now, in the morning, when I light the fire I mean to look out the window to see what the sun is doing to the day. Does it hit the pump handle first or the spigot?” These simple thoughts of Sethe to herself every morning is symbolic of the freedom of thought and physical freedom she experiences and how she no longer takes the simple things for granted as she is more appreciated of the simple things.
Pg. 237 – “Took her a long time to finish with blue, then yellow, then green. She was well into pink when she died. I don’t believe she wanted to get to red and I understand why because me and Beloved outdid ourselves with it. Matter of fact, that and her pinkish headstone was the last color I recall.” The blue, which represents sadness, moves to yellow, a sign for health, then green, a sign for renewal. The different colors mirror the different phases of her life as blue represented the sadness of slavery she endured, and yellow, as the renewed strength from achieving freedom and not longer needing to outwork her hip, and the green as the birth of another grandchild, Denver. The red represented the blood that was spilt from Beloved and the death of her grandchild.
Pg. 237 – “White and purple with a tender tail and a hard head.” The color of white represents innocence, and purple represents sacred things. This quote about the tulips mirror the innocence and sacred moments that they will hold together as a reborn relationship of mother and daughter that had been absent from them, until now.
Pg. 240 – “She’d had the bit so many times she smiled. When she wasn’t smiling she smiled, and I never saw her own smile.” The fake smile that they describe is the fake smile that slaves wore on the outside. The façade that they had put up with, because of the iron bit they had to suffer as dehumanized slaves.
Pg. 241 – “Baby Suggs had them painted white so you could see your way to the top in the dark where lamplight didn’t reach. Lord, you loved the stairsteps.” The whiteness of the stairsteps represents the purity and innocence that Beloved had loved as a baby and shows her innocence. This quote is also an example of the reoccurring motif of religion in everyday speech. The use of religious words can be seen in typical conversations and thoughts. This emphasizes the importance that Christianity and religion had on the everyday life of African Americans.
Pg. 242 – “I swallowed her blood right along with my mother’s milk.” The archetypal meaning of blood mixed along with the symbol of nourishment shows how Denver was meant to have love for both her sister and her mother. Because while one gave her life, the other gave her the meaning and ability to sustain her life.
Pg. 243 – “Tired from her long journey back.” The journey is the representative of the archetypal journey that the hero faces. It is shown how she was brought back from death and how she had experienced the other side of spirituality.
Pg. 243 – “She cut my head off every night.” Though Sethe doesn’t literally cut off Denver’s head every night, to Denver, it feels like she does because it seems as if Sethe doesn’t look at her as a daughter, but instead as a stranger. This lack of a close relationship separates them further and further.
Pg. 244 – “Only place she can’t get to me in the night is Grandma Baby’s room.” This is a biblical allusion to how Baby Suggs, a biblical allusion to Christ is protecting Denver as a spirit and is protecting her from the evil that Denver believes Sethe holds.
Pg. 245 – “He could count on paper.” This is symbolic to the amount of freedom through education that he received as a slave under Mr. Garner’s guidance. And once again it brings up the question of whether being a slave under Mr. Garner was similar or different than being a slave under the schoolteacher.
Pg. 246 – “My daddy was an angel man.” The symbol of the angel is like a beacon of hope for Denver and the belief that Denver has that her father loves her unconditionally.
Pg. 247 – “All she had left was her heart and they busted it so even the War couldn’t rouse her.” The heart is the archetype for emotion and passion, which was taken away from her as the freedom of her grandchildren and daughter-in-law was threatened and almost taken away. The threat of slavery had come back to haunt her, even after the War, and ruined her ability to love and appreciate her freedom.
Pg. 248 – “I would help her but the clouds are in the way” This quote shows the separation of Beloved from Sethe through the heavens, because the clouds represent the sky, which is symbolic for the heavens. This proves that Beloved was a spirit who was reborn.
Pg. 248 – “a hot thing” a hot thing is representative of life, in general. Because while death is cold, life is hot and warm.
Pg. 248 – “the men without skin bring us their morning water to drink” The symbolism of men without skin is symbolic of the men who have no outer covering, no protection for the outside world.
Pg. 249 – “if I had the teeth of the man who died on my face I would bite the circle around her neck” the symbol of the circle is symbolic for the imprisonment of Sethe as she was placed under arrest for the killing of Beloved. This is contrast to the many other circle imagery scenes which have otherwise held a very positive outlook.
Pg. 251 – “I wait on the bridge because she is under it” The bridge is an archetype of a connection between one world and the other. The heavenly world and the real world are connected through this archetypal bridge and Beloved is on it looking at Sethe.
Pg. 254 – “If they put an iron circle around your neck I will bite it away.” The iron circle represents the enslavement of Sethe and how much love Beloved had for Sethe, no matter how evil, or life-sucking it might seem.
Pg. 257 – “Warmth and red eyes.” The archetype for red eyes is used to describe the drunk eyes of Paul D to show how the remains of the opened “tobacco tin” were still there in his mind floating around while he was trying to close it back up.
Pg. 258 – “His tobacco tin, blown open, spilled contents that floated freely and made him their play and prey.” The tobacco tin, which was blown open, had revealed the dark side of his past and symbolizes the resurgence of the past that he had spent so long trying to hide and avoid. But now it was free and it was messing with his mind and his body.
Pg. 259 – “There was no blood. Mr. Garner came home bent over his mare’s neck, sweating and blue-white. Not a drop of blood.” The blood is the archetypal symbol for death and because there is such a lack of it when Mr. Garner dies, it shows how they felt about Mr. Garner. It showed how they believed that he couldn’t die because they had been brainwashed by him to believe in his power.
Pg. 260 – “His little love was a tree, of course, but not like Brother – old, wide and beckoning.” This shows how because of the past he had endured, his love was no longer a big and wide love, like Brother. But rather, it was a narrow specific love that only allowed himself to love small things that could only be known for sure.
Pg. 267 – “He has always known, or believed he did, his value – as a hand, a laborer who could make profit on the farm – but not he discovers his worth, which is to say he learns his price. The dollar value of his weight, his strength, his heart, his brain, his penis, and his future.” This quote shows the symbolic dehumanization of the slaves as they are given very specific monetary values when Paul D is sold, and he finds out exactly how much money he really is worth. And when his heart is on sale, it seems as if his own emotions have a price, and everything can be bought.
Pg: 271: “ribbon” and “red cloth”: Stamp Paid carries around a red ribbon that he picks up from the river. The ribbon was found clung to some hair and there was also some scalp. The ribbon symbolizes violence that slavery comes with. Red is an archetype for blood, sacrifice, violent passion; disorder. The ribbon is red and the fact that there was some scalp there shows the violence of the times. Stamp keeps it with him and it reminds him of why he helps people cross the river.
Pg 272: “The canal was frozen”: the canal water is frozen. It is wintertime and that means the death of the season. As an archetype, wintertime also means the death of something (could be anything at all). Frozen water signifies the death of life. It also says that traffic was frozen. Water business was dead.
Pg 274: “shoes”: Stamp Paid fixes his shoelaces very intently. There are many holes for the laces and it sounds very intricate. Shoes, throughout the story, are a symbol for the hardships of slavery and how slaves are constantly moving. They couldn’t rest in one place; they were always on a journey. Slaves were constantly being sold and moved around.
“Joshua”: Stamp Paid’s real name is “Joshua”. Joshua is a biblical allusion after the Joshua in the Bible. Joshua was the person who led the Hebrews into the Promised Land.
Pg 275: “eggs”: a symbol of fertility. Stamp Paid goes to the house to see his wife and asks about eggs. It could mean that Vashti is his wife and he wants to take her back.
“black ribbon”: Stamp Paid gave his wife a black ribbon which she tied around her neck. The black is an archetype for protection. Stamp wanted to protect her from their owners but he couldn’t do anything in the end.
“blue cloth”: archetype for an association with truth. Stamp Paid and Paul D are talking about what Sethe did and the truth comes out.
Pg 277: “Black as oil.”: Paul D is explaining to Stamp Paid what Beloved ever said to him. Paul explains about the brand new looking shoes. Beloved never had the life of a slave. She isn’t the same as the other slaves.
Pg 282: “games”: Beloved and Sethe play games; basically, Sethe tries to make up for the lost time that Beloved couldn’t experience as a child.
“garden in dirt”: the garden is an archetype for nature ordered to serve human needs. The three females just play and they make this. They make their surroundings into a bright and colorful setting. Partially, Sethe wants to make the house pretty for Beloved; she wants Beloved to be happy.
Pg 283: “layer of brown leaves”: mother earth, friendship, and strength. The three have a sort of friendship and their strength grows through the fun that they have.
Pg 285: “Ax the trunk, the limb will die. Honor thy father and mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”: biblical allusions to the commandments. This is talking about Beloved’s actions towards Sethe. Beloved takes advantage of Sethe and doesn’t seem to respect her at all.
Pg 286: “an old man with white hair”: talking about Stamp Paid. His white hair shows his “cleanliness”. He has a penchant for telling the truth. He told Paul D about the Misery and he felt bad about not telling him.
Pg 308: “The sky is blue and clear. Not one touch of death in the definite green of the leaves.”: Sethe is being liberated and after Beloved is exorcised. Blue and green are archetypes of spirituality and renewal, respectively.
Pg 321: “Will he do it in sections?..., will the parts hold?”: another biblical allusion. (previously mentioned
Pg 324: “apple-green bloom”: green is an archetype for growth and renewal spring. Sethe and Paul D will grow together and the relationship between all the other people in the city will be better.
-The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Chapter 16 – “The four horsemen came – schoolteacher, one nephew, one slave catcher and a sheriff”: the white slave owners are depicted as evil, demonic; they bring the end of Sethe’s sane, safe world, after they come, she kills Beloved, and she never really finds peace again
-Baby Suggs: Based on oral tradition, Baby Suggs’ name and title is “Baby Suggs, holy”. Christian symbol for Jesus Christ, her feast of blueberry pies (like the parable of the five loaves of bread and two fish, there’s suddenly an abundance of turkey and blackberry pies.), etc. paralleled to Jesus feeding a huge crowd from 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread, she washes and takes care of Sethe’s feet like Jesus washed the feet of his disciples; Also, the archetypal Earthmother: symbolic of fruition, abundance, and fertility (had 8 children), traditionally offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those with whom she comes in contact
-Beloved: Beloved is a symbol representing slavery; she comes back to haunt Paul D., Sethe, and Denver, her demand for love enslaves Sethe and Denver, who never even experienced slavery; Beloved’s ghost is a reminder of the horrible slavery Sethe escaped, and when she comes back to life, she begins to suck the life out of Sethe who starts to waste away
-crawling already? Baby: Based on oral tradition, this is Beloved’s initial name. This name was made because the baby began to crawl fast. Also this was Beloved’s initial name because African slaves never named their child until they knew the child was going to survive. Also at times African slaves never had the chance to name their child, because there was a risk the baby might be taken away.
-Sethe: named after Seth, Biblical allusion, Seth was born after the murder of Abel by Cain, was presented with the staff God gave to Adam, a branch of the Tree of Life. She represents the “other”—the excluded in a society.
-Trees: (Pg. 42-43, “To Take the Sin Out of Slicing Trees…”: The Law of the Tree of Beloved, Michele Bonnet) “trees play a crucial role in African religion, they are considered as intermediaries between God and man.” A lot of trees in the book when the characters need revitalizing or comfort; Sixo goes dancing in trees
-Paul D.: (Morrison’s Beloved: Allegorically Othering “White” Christianity) Christ-like figure. He goes through severe pain and suffering, so that he can return to “claim the abandoned bride.” In the Bible, Jesus Christ is described as the head of Christ and the bridegroom. So, Paul being the bridegroom goes back to Sethe. His severe pain and suffering consists of being in the prison chain gang while living in a grave like box. His love for Sethe overcomes the “jealousy of her children and the punishments of the slave system.” Through parallelism of Paul D’s suffering to Christ, the extent of pain experienced by African men and women can be known. Paul D portrays the power of love when he reclaims the “beloved who was not beloved”, which is Sethe (“the abandoned bride” on Earth to the whites and Christ.)
-red: passion, violence, blood
Beloved’s blood, blood from whippings. This recurrent image exists to show the pain of slavery, how the history of slavery involved a lot of “blood”. The red imagery refers to the “sixty million and more” slaves who died. Sixo is referred to as a “red man,” he is full of passion (Thirty-Mile Woman)
-shoes, feet: Sethe’s feet rebirth, Amy Denver, the white girl massages Sethe’s feet, Beloved’s feet, Beloved’s shoes. All the shoes and feet imagery symbolize the slaves never being “home” because they don’t have a permanent place that they actually can call “home.” The shoes and feet imagery also show the constant traveling that slaves did, especially in Paul D’s life, which he mentions when he states it’s better for a colored man to always be walking for if he stands still in one place for too long he might get hurt. The shoes and feet imagery also symbolize the weariness and exhaustion of slaves for always constantly being treated as the “other.”
-Halle covering his face with butter: This image symbolizes Halle losing everything. This especially symbolizes his losing his manhood. It symbolizes his losing of his manhood because there was nothing he could do to stop the nephews from taking Sethe’s milk. For if Halle took an action, he would be killed, as punishment. Thus his helplessness causes him to cover his face with butter, which weighs on his mind, and his covering of his face in butter shows he’s “feeling” Sethe’s pain. He also was possibly guilty, so he couldn’t face Sethe, and that could be why Sethe never saw him again.
-turtles: The recurring turtle imagery symbolizes mystic creatures, of which Beloved is a “mystic creature.” Specifically the turtle imagery in the book exists to show Beloved’s future actions. The purpose of the turtle imagery in the book gives foreshadowing. (ch 9)
-water symbolism: (Morrison’s Beloved: Allegorically Othering “White” Christianity) The recurrent water imagery is connected to Beloved’s birth and the slave trade. Beloved’s references to being “lost in the water under the bridge” can be related to the “promise that many waters cannot quench love.” When Beloved speaks of her past, she says this about Sethe “her face comes through the water/ a hot thing/ her face is mine…”Beloved’s rising from the water to “reclaim” her mothers, she symbolizes the Biblical promise. Ultimately, the recurrent water imagery symbolizes the intensity of love. Thus, water, even floods, can not “quench love.” The archetype water in this book means the mystery of creation and the birth-death resurrection. Beloved’s rising from the water and disappearing near the water shows the mystery of creation and the birth-death resurrection, Denver is born over water in a boat, the Ohio River
-Water also symbolizes rebirth: Beloved recalls her “rebirth” as coming under the bridge, also like crossing an ocean in a ship (referring to the Middle Passage), Paul D. has a form of rebirth when he escapes prison through water-logged mud (Chapter 10), Sethe’s “rebirth” into freedom requires her to cross the Ohio River with Denver
-(“The Haunting of 124”, Schmudde) The Ohio River is literally in the middle of slavery and freedom, also part of Christian symbolism for the River Jordan: the boundary the children of Israel crossed to enter the promised land
-circle symbolism: The recurrent circle imagery gives a wholeness and resolution to the novel as it makes a whole cycle, circles are apparent everywhere throughout the novel.When Denver wants protection, she climbs into a ring of boxwood bushes which offer her a safe haven to hide in from what she doesn’t like (Paul D.) The circles also show up when Beloved is massaging Sethe’s neck and creating small circles with her hands. These same circles are related to the rink around Beloved’s neck where Sethe cut through with the saw. Also, there are circles when Sethe is confronted by Paul D. and she avoids the subject by circling around him, the topic, and the room.