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Quotes

Quote #1

"For a baby she throws a powerful spell," said Denver.

"No more powerful than the way I loved her," Sethe answered and there it was again. The welcoming cool of unchiseled headstones; the one she selected to lean against on tiptoe, her knees wide open as any grave. Pink as a fingernail it was, and sprinkled with glittering chips. Ten minutes, he said. You got ten minutes I'll do it for free. (1.13-14)

Sethe is super easily sucked into the past: all the baby ghost has to do is throw something, and Sethe's thinking about the headstone she got for the baby. Clearly, Sethe's not thinking about the state of the furniture or the house. So which is more powerful: the spell or the love?

Quote #2

She had not thought to ask him and it bothered her still that it might have been possible—that for twenty minutes, heard the preacher say at the funeral (and all there was to say, surely) engraved on her baby's headstone: Dearly Beloved. But what she got, settled for, was the one word that mattered. (1.15)

It doesn't seem like the baby girl ever had a real name until Sethe had to get a headstone for her grave. What's with that? How would things be different in baby Beloved had a name? What would her name have been?

Quote #3

To go back to the original hunger was impossible. Luckily for Denver, looking was food enough to last. But to be looked at in turn was beyond appetite; it was breaking through her own skin to a place where hunger hadn't been discovered […]

It was lovely. Not to be stared at, not seen, but being pulled into view by the interested, uncritical eyes of the other […] Denver's skin dissolved under that gaze and became soft and bright like the lisle dress that had its arm around her mother's waist. She floated near but outside her own body, feeling vague and intense at the same time. Needing nothing. Being what there was. (12.1-2)

Denver's pretty obsessed with Beloved. It kind of reminds us of Beloved's obsession with Seth, actually. Is Denver so starved for maternal love that she tries to get it from Beloved instead? Or is it something specific about Beloved that makes her feel that way?

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