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Literature Study GuidesBelovedPart 2 Chapter 22 Summary

Beloved | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

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Part 2: Chapter 22

Kristen Over, Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 2: Chapter 22 of Toni Morrison's book Beloved.

Beloved | Part 2, Chapter 22 | Summary



In a stream of "baby talk," Beloved describes being one with Sethe. She is crouching in cramped quarters with others, some of whom are dead. Men with no skin give them food, but she doesn't eat. They have little to drink. There are rats. She sees a woman with a shackle around her neck and wants to bite it off. The woman has her face. She doesn't want to be separated from the woman. But the woman leaves her; no one wants her. She sees the woman's face again, her own face, and follows her. She is not dead. She sees a house. The face is Sethe's, and now they can be together.


The stream of consciousness this time is Beloved's. Using disjointed phrases, like baby talk, she describes the horrifying conditions she has endured. The reader has read some of these phrases previously in the novel. The pictures she paints in this chapter are also symbolic of the Middle Passage—the voyage Sethe's mother took. It is a link between Beloved and Sethe. Beloved describes crouching in a tightly cramped ship, with rats and dead people on top of her. These are true historic memories of slavery that the author wants the reader be aware of and never forget.

Beloved's thoughts toward the end of the chapter represent her passage from one life to the next—from death back to life. She was separated from her mother at death, but now she has been brought back to her at 124.

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