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by Toni Morrison

Beloved Timeline and Summary

  • Sethe gives birth to her first baby girl (whom everyone later thinks is Beloved) at Sweet Home, where they happily spend their days together.
  • When schoolteacher arrives, Sethe and the others plot their escape. When no one shows at the meeting spot, Sethe packs her kids off, including her baby girl, and returns to find Halle.
  • The baby girl and her brothers make it to the house of their grandmother, Baby Suggs.
  • Eventually, Sethe makes it too. There's a short happy period (28 days) when all the children and Sethe are together.
  • Then the slave catchers come after Sethe. She takes her kids into the shed and kills her first daughter.
  • Sethe buries her daughter and gives her a headstone with "Beloved" inscribed on it.
  • About eighteen years later, Beloved rises up out of the water.
  • She makes her way to 124 Bluestone Rd., where she waits for Sethe, Denver, and Paul D to return from the carnival.
  • Beloved manages to win Sethe and Denver over and stays on at 124. She lives for Sethe's stories and for sweets. She also seems to know things about Sethe that no one else knows.
  • But she doesn't like Paul D because he takes up Sethe's love and attention. So she starts to move him around the house (or, at least, that's what Paul D thinks). Finally, he moves into the shed, where Beloved seduces him.
  • Beloved becomes pregnant.
  • Paul D eventually moves out (but not because of Beloved's seduction). Once he's gone, Beloved, Sethe, and Denver form a happy trio. They tell stories, play, ice skate.
  • Sethe stops working and hangs out with Beloved all day. But Beloved wants more.
  • As the days go by, Beloved gets fatter and Sethe more haggard.
  • Before Sethe wastes away entirely, however, the women of the town arrive to get rid of Beloved. Beloved stands, naked and pregnant, on the porch.
  • While Sethe gets into a scuffle with the women, Beloved disappears.
  • Or, well, sort of. See, the last section of the book is Beloved's. She's been forgotten—but she's still around, in the woods. Without a body, perhaps. But still there.