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Beloved | Study Guide

Toni Morrison

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Beloved | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • 1873

    Sethe and her daughter, Denver, live in 124, a house haunted by a mischievous baby ghost.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • August 1873

    Paul D, who knew Sethe 18 years before, arrives, banishes the ghost, and moves in.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • Four days later

    A strange woman found leaning against a tree moves into 124.

    Part 1, Chapter 5
  • A few days later

    Sethe remembers killing her daughter to keep her from returning to slavery.

    Part 1, Chapter 16
  • 1874

    Stamp Paid shows Paul D a news story about Sethe killing her baby daughter.

    Part 1, Chapter 17
  • The same day

    Paul D confronts Sethe, who confesses the murder, and Paul D moves out.

    Part 1, Chapter 18
  • A few days later

    Beloved hums a song that Sethe made up; Sethe realizes Beloved is her dead daughter.

    Part 2, Chapter 19
  • Spring 1874

    Sethe and Denver are starving; Beloved demands all the food and attention.

    Part 3, Chapter 26
  • April 1875

    Denver visits Lady Jones about a job; Denver tells her about Beloved. The news spreads.

    Part 3, Chapter 26
  • Summer 1875

    The neighbor women march to 124 to expel the ghost; Beloved vanishes.

    Part 3, Chapter 26

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 124 Bluestone Road has been haunted for years by the ghost of a baby that is furious at "having its throat cut." The set... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 2 Paul D can't believe his luck at finding Sethe, a woman whom he had always desired. Sethe and he have quick sex, followe... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 3 Denver recalls a time when she left her safe place in the woods, a ring of five boxwood bushes that form a little room. ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 4 Denver asks Paul D how long he is going to stay, which causes him to ask Sethe if he should leave. Even Sethe is surpris... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 5 A woman of 19 or 20 walks from the stream near 124 and sits down, leaning against a tree "all day and all night" as her ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 6 Beloved is entranced by Sethe. Out of nowhere she asks where Sethe's diamonds are. Sethe is so amazed that she wants to ... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 7 Paul D has strange feelings about Beloved. He wonders why Sethe and Denver accept her so readily and unquestioningly whe... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 8 Just a few minutes after Beloved was choking on the raisin, she and Denver are in Denver's room dancing. When they final... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 9 Sethe decides it is time to take Baby Suggs's advice and "to lay it all down" and find peace. She reminisces about how h... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 10 Chapter 10 represents a flashback to the time when Paul D was forced to work on a chain gang after trying to kill the ne... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 11 Paul D is gradually moving out of 124. He ends up sleeping in the storeroom, where Beloved visits him and coerces him in... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 12 Denver wrestles with her relationship with Beloved: she craves her attention and only occasionally gets it, and then une... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 13 Paul D recalls thinking that he was one of only five blacks in Kentucky who were "men" because Garner had trusted them a... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 14 After Paul D and Sethe go upstairs to bed, Beloved asks Denver to make Paul D go away, but Denver is afraid Sethe will b... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 15 In a flashback, the reader learns that, in the days after Sethe and her children showed up at 124, Baby Suggs was afraid... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 16 As the flashback continues, four men come to 124: schoolteacher (the slave owner at Sweet Home who replaced Mr. Garner),... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 17 Paul D is looking at a photograph in a newspaper clipping, saying, "That ain't her mouth." He can't read, but he knows i... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 18 Paul D confronts Sethe with the clipping, expecting her to laugh, but instead Sethe explains what happened. She spins ar... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 19 Stamp Paid hears loud voices as he approaches 124. He feels responsible for Paul D moving out and has come to check on S... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 20 Sethe believes that her baby daughter has come back to her in the flesh. In her mind, she explains to Beloved why she ki... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 21 In this chapter Denver takes her turn at sharing her thoughts and feelings with the reader. Denver begins by acknowledgi... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 22 In a stream of "baby talk," Beloved describes being one with Sethe. She is crouching in cramped quarters with others, so... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 23 This chapter continues Beloved's stream-of-conscious narration as she recalls the dead men being shoved into the sea. Se... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 24 Memories of the past come flooding back to Paul D as he sits on the front porch of the church where he has taken refuge ... Read More
Part 2, Chapter 25 Stamp Paid apologizes to Paul D because no one has taken him in and tells him he can stay with any black person in town.... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 26 At 124 the three women are starving. Sethe and Beloved don't care. It began when Sethe saw the scar on Beloved's neck. A... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 27 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... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 28 The people of Bluestone Road forget Beloved "like a bad dream." Sometimes they are reminded of her, but they choose not ... Read More
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