Sethe, her image of the loving Halle shattered by this revelation, boils over with rage at the menacing "boys with mossy teeth," schoolteacher taking notes during the assault, and Halle watching from the loft but taking no action to defend her. She calms herself by examining Paul D's face, which is somehow free of the wildness that afflicts most men who have suffered the iron bit. Paul D tells Sethe that the worst of his humiliation after being captured by schoolteacher was the glare of Mister, the deformed rooster that he helped hatch from its shell. Sethe, having heard this confession of pain and degradation, massages his knee in sympathy.It is revealed in this chapter that Sethe's house was once a way station. The motif of the way station, a key element in the novel, operates on two levels. As an earthly dwelling for a wandering spirit,
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