Literature Study GuidesBelovedPart 1 Chapter 14 Summary

Beloved | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

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Beloved | Part 1, Chapter 14 | Summary



After Paul D and Sethe go upstairs to bed, Beloved asks Denver to make Paul D go away, but Denver is afraid Sethe will be mad at Beloved if he leaves. Beloved pulls out a tooth and feels like she is falling apart—a feeling she has often had of losing an arm, a hand, a toe. Denver watches her and asks why she doesn't cry. At that, Beloved begins to cry and hopes that Denver's arms around her will keep her from falling apart.


This chapter reveals two paradoxical aspects of Beloved. On the one hand, readers see that her hold on life is tenuous: she pulls a tooth out and fears that she is falling apart. Will she gradually come apart and once again become a haunting presence or just a memory? On the other hand, losing the wisdom tooth is typically seen as a step toward growing up. When she learns to cry—an act that comes naturally and instinctively to most humans—it suggests that she is becoming more substantial and taking on more of the life of a person.

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