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Chapter 16

Chapter 16

Four horsemen arrive at 124 Bluestone Road: Schoolteacher and a nephew, a slave catcher and the sheriff. The house looks quiet so they think that they are already too late, that Sethe and her children have been warned and so they fled. When the four men go into the backyard, they see an old black woman wearing a hat (Baby Suggs) and an old black man standing near a woodpile (Stamp Paid). Both of them are dazed and their eyes are fixed on the shed. The four men walk into the shed and find two boys bleeding in the sawdust (Howard and Buglar), and a woman (Sethe) who is clutching a blood-soaked child to her chest (Beloved) while swinging another by the heels (Denver). One of the boys reaches up, snatching Denver from certain death. Schoolteacher says that there is nothing left to claim, and tells his nephew to focus on the scene. After being milked and beaten, Sethe has run away and killed her baby. The nephew needs to learn that you cannot educate animals by over-beating them.
Baby Suggs eventually enters the shed and tends to the boys, wounded but alive, and she has to coax Sethe to give her Beloved's corpse. Sethe clearly does not realize all of what has happened, as if she did not commit the crime herself. Sethe makes no effort to clean the blood from her breasts, as she prepares to feed Denver. Baby Suggs falls to the floor when she tries to stop Sethe from feeding Denver with bloody milk. Baby Suggs is unable to rise in time to escort Sethe to the sheriff's wagon, hoping to rescue Denver from her crazed mother.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points To Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8 and 9
Chapter 10 and 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14 and 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17 and 18
Chapter 19 and 20
Chapter 21 and 22
Chapter 23 and 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27 and 28


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