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Literature Study GuidesBelovedPart 3 Chapter 27 Summary

Beloved | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

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Part 3: Chapter 27

Kristen Over, Associate Professor at Northeastern Illinois University, provides an in-depth summary and analysis of Part 3: Chapter 27 of Toni Morrison's book Beloved.

Beloved | Part 3, Chapter 27 | Summary



Paul D and Stamp Paid return to 124. Here Boy, the aged family dog, is back, so Paul D knows that Beloved is really gone. Some of the women that had gathered at 124 say she exploded right in front of them. Stamp Paid says Mr. Bodwin is going to sell 124, but he won't be pressing charges against Sethe. Denver and Ella wrestled the ice pick away from Sethe and saved his life. Paul D thinks Sethe has gone crazy. The next morning Paul D meets Denver on the street, and she tells Paul D that her mother is not all right. She thinks she has lost her. She warns him to be careful how he talks to her.

Paul D reflects on the years before he arrived in Cincinnati. He recalls joining the army during the war, his escape from Alabama as a free man, and his arrival in New Jersey, where he earned and spent his first money. He wandered as a free man for seven years before ending up in Ohio.

Paul D walks to 124, opens the door, and notices the quiet. He finds Sethe humming and lying under a colorful quilt. She confesses her guilt for all that has happened because she "made the ink" for schoolteacher to use in his lessons. Paul D tells Sethe that she has to get up and that he is going to take care of her. He remembers how Sixo felt about his Thirty-Mile Woman: "She is a friend of my mind," he said, who helped put the pieces of him back together. Paul D realizes he feels the same for Sethe. He tells her, "We got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow."


Paul D's visit to 124 confirms Sethe's madness. Still consumed with guilt, she obsesses over having made the ink for schoolteacher that he used to classify her animal characteristics. In her mind, the ink caused all that has happened.

Paul D takes charge in a loving but firm way. In a tender memory, he is reminded of Sixo's feelings for the Thirty-Mile Woman and projects this feeling to Sethe. Sethe is sad because Beloved, her "best thing," has left her, but Paul D insists that Sethe herself is her own best thing. She is free now and can truly own herself. Together, she and Paul D have relived the painful memories of the past, but he knows they now need to look toward the future. In the effort to do so, they represent all freed slaves who were forced to do the same thing.

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