Beloved Tony Morrison. Prepared by: Ymer LEKSI. Tony Morrison (Chloe Anthony Woffort).
Beloved Tony Morrison
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An unflinching champion of her race and its heritage, Toni Morrison confesses to “[thinking] the unthinkable.” In her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, she explores infanticide, rape, seduction, madness, passion, wisdom, alienation, powerlessness, regret, tyranny, and the supernatural. A bold novelist, she has staked out fictional turf on which to dramatize the fact that black people, the center of her microcosms, are not marginal racial anomalies, but a genuine human society. In rebuttal of less inclusive philosophies, Morrison states: “There is a notion out in the land that there are black people or Indians or some other marginal group, and if you write about the world from that point of view, somehow it is considered lesser.” Rejecting anything other than full membership in humanity for black people, she asserts her credo: “We are people, not aliens. We live, we love, and we die.”
Halle Suggs Sethe’s husband and the youngest of Baby Suggs’s eight children. For years, Halle hires himself out to buy his mother’s freedom. Although he plans to escape to freedom, the escape plot is discovered and halted by the Sweet Home overseer (schoolteacher). Halle is never heard from again.
Amy Denver A young white girl and indentured slave who cares for Sethe when Sethe runs from Sweet Home. She helps deliver Sethe’s fourth child, and Sethe names the baby Denver in her honor.
Mr. Garner The owner of Sweet Home who treats his slaves humanely.
Mrs. Lillian Garner Mr. Garner’s wife who treats both Baby Suggs and Sethe kindly and gives Sethe a pair of crystal earrings as a wedding gift. After Mr. Garner dies, she becomes ill and turns Sweet Home over to her cruel brother-in-law, the schoolteacher.
Ma’am Sethe’s unnamed mother who was taken from Africa. The hard labor she is subjected to prevents her from spending time with Sethe, and she is killed when Sethe is just a girl.
Nan The one-armed plantation wet-nurse who crossed the ocean in the same ship that carried Sethe’s mother. Nan is a sort of surrogate mother to Sethe, breastfeeding her after the “whitebabies” are fed.
Ella One of Baby Suggs’s neighbors in Cincinnati who escorts Sethe and Denver from the riverbank to Baby Suggs’s house when they first arrive. Years later, she organizes the local women to exorcise Beloved from the house.
Janey Wagon A house servant in the Bodwin home.
Lady Jones A woman of mixed heritage and neighbor of Baby Suggs who offers lessons to the neighborhood children. She later helps Denver climb out of poverty.
September 18: Congress passes a compromise bill containing a Fugitive Slave Law, intended to appease both slave and free states.
1851 Buglar, Sethe’s second son, is born. A 20-year period of northern migration for runaway and newly emancipated blacks begins. After Mr. Garner’s death, Mrs. Garner sells Paul F. (From the proceeds of the sale, she lives two years before summoning schoolteacher and his boys to help her run Sweet Home.)
1855 Baby Suggs intuitively selects 1855 as the year that Halle died. The Society of Friends is at the height of its abolitionist drive. The Sweet Home slaves unsuccessfully try to escape. Sethe is assaulted by the schoolteacher’s nephews before she finally escapes slavery.
Four weeks later: Stamp Paid delivers two buckets of berries to Baby Suggs, who expands the gift into a feast for 90 people.
The next day: Sethe kills her oldest daughter and tries to kill her other children when the schoolteacher and his nephews arrive to take her and the children back to Sweet Home. Sethe and Denver are taken to jail.
Thursday at 11:00 a.m.: Paul D escorts Denver and Sethe to the carnival beside the lumberyard.
Thursday afternoon, late: Beloved appears in the flesh, sitting on a stump outside Sethe’s house. Sethe loses bladder control.
Monday: As Denver hovers, Beloved awakens in the keeping room.
Thursday: Beloved notices the orange patches on the quilt. Four weeks after Beloved’s arrival: Beloved asks about Sethe’s mother and about Sethe’s “diamond earrings.”
Five weeks after Beloved’s arrival: Paul D presses Beloved for personal information. He reveals to Sethe that Halle observed the schoolteacher’s nephews maul and molest her before her escape from Sweet Home.
By fall: Paul D moves out of Sethe’s bed.
In winter: Beloved seduces Paul D.
Three weeks later: Paul D feels guilty about his infidelity.
He meets Sethe at Sawyer’s restaurant intending to confess, but instead he asks her to bear his child.
1875 January: Denver, Beloved, and Sethe play and enjoy each other’s company on the frozen creek.
March: Sethe discovers the scar on Beloved’s neck, which was created when Sethe killed her. By the end of the month, Sethe spends her life savings on fancy food and clothes in an attempt to appease Beloved.
April: Denver asks Lady Jones for work. Lady Jones givesher food.
A Friday in summer: Thirty women approach 124 Bluestone Road as Edwin Bodwin comes to fetch Denver to go to work. Thinking Bodwin intends to take her children, Sethe tries to stab him with an ice pick. Ella stops her, and Denver wrestles her to the ground. A very pregnant Beloved vanishes from the porch.
In the days or weeks that follow Beloved’s disappearance: Sethe takes to her bed. Paul D returns and helps her learn to live again.