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Chapter 8 and 9

Chapter 8

Denver and Beloved are becoming closer and closer. They now sleep in the same room and Denver enjoys asking Beloved questions regarding the place where she was before she came to Bluestone Road. Beloved says that this first place was small, hot and cramped. She describes that there were heaps of people together and there was a man on her face. Some of the people are dead. Beloved explains that she had to wait at the bridge for a long time. When Denver asks Beloved why she came, Beloved explains that she came to see Sethe's face and Denver is hurt that she is not the center of Beloved's attention. Realizing that Beloved is her sister, Denver warns Beloved not to tell Sethe.

Chapter 9

Sethe remembers Baby Suggs' advice to "lay it all down." It has been nine years since Baby Suggs died. After her freedom had been purchased, Baby Suggs renamed herself "Baby Suggs, holy" and she became a preacher without a church. On Sundays, Baby Suggs held services in the Clearing and men, women and children came to laugh, dance and cry. Baby Suggs taught them to respect their bodies and love their hearts, but at the end of her life, Baby Suggs said that white people had torn her "heart strings." On this Sunday morning, Sethe, Beloved and Denver head for the clearing. Sethe has long blamed herself for the unraveling of Baby Suggs' fate and she thinks back to her own arrival in Ohio. Sethe was ferried across the river by a man named Stamp Paid and a woman named Ella brought her to Baby Suggs' house. When she arrived at 124, Sethe greeted Baby Suggs who thought it best for Sethe to clean herself up before the children greeted Sethe. Baby Suggs bathed Sethe in sections and massaged her dead skin and repaired her back.
Sitting in the Clearing, Sethe remembers Baby Suggs' fingers and she can feel the fingers press into her neck. But the fingers press harder and harder until Sethe finally realizes that she is being strangled. Beloved does not seem to be paying too much attention but Denver notices and rescues Sethe. Beloved strokes the skin around Sethe's neck and pointed out that it was bruised. Soon after, the three leave the Clearing. Back at home, Denver confronts Beloved, accusing her of trying to strangle Sethe. Denver remembers when she attended Lady Jones' school and learned to read and count with several other colored children. But then, one day, a boy named Nelson Lord asked her a question about her mother and when Denver approached Sethe to find out if it was true, she went deaf rather than hear the answer. Denver was deaf for two years and it wasn't until the baby ghost started making footsteps that Denver regained her lost sense of hearing. And now that Beloved has returned, Nelson Lord's questions: "Didn't your mother get locked away for murder? Wasn't you in there with her when she went?" don't mean anything to Denver.

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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