Course Hero Logo
Literature Study GuidesBelovedPart 2 Chapter 23 Summary

Beloved | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

Get the eBook on Amazon to study offline.

Buy on Amazon Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Beloved Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 6 June 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2016, July 28). Beloved Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved June 6, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2016)



Course Hero. "Beloved Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed June 6, 2023.


Course Hero, "Beloved Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed June 6, 2023,

Part 2: Chapter 23

Kristen Over, Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 2: Chapter 23 of Toni Morrison's book Beloved.

Beloved | Part 2, Chapter 23 | Summary



This chapter continues Beloved's stream-of-conscious narration as she recalls the dead men being shoved into the sea. Sethe also went into the sea, where Beloved tried to join her but couldn't move. Sethe was hidden behind clouds of gun smoke. She lost Sethe three times.

There is a dialogue between Sethe, Beloved, and Denver. Beloved says she has come from the other side. Sethe tells her she loves her face and asks if she will stay. The men without skin are gone; they tried to get in once, but Sethe stopped them and "they won't ever come back," Sethe promises. Denver warns Beloved not to love Sethe too much. Sethe tells her she will never leave Beloved again.


This chapter works on two levels. On one level it is about the separation of Beloved from Sethe and Denver. On another it is about the separation of Africans from their native Africa—first, when they were enslaved and brought to America and, later, when they were separated from their families while in America.

The dialogue between the women shows the despair in which they now live. In the repeated sentences, Sethe tries to assure Beloved that she will never leave her again. She seems desperate to appease Beloved. At the same time, Denver is frantic for Beloved's attention. Warning Beloved not to love Sethe too much has a twofold purpose: she is warning her against Sethe, and at the same time she is trying to capture all of Beloved's love for herself. The structure of the narrative, which has disintegrated into fragmented sentences, reflects the close intimacy the minds of these three characters are locked into. All three women try to make peace with the past, live peacefully in the present, and look toward the future.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Beloved? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!