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Beloved

Beloved

by Toni Morrison

Memory and the Past Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"Anything dead coming back to life hurts." (3.65)

Leave it to Amy Denver to encapsulate Beloved in seven words. This quotation should leave you with the word foreshadowing flashing in your brain in Broadway-style lights.

Quote #2

"I was talking about time. It's so hard for me to believe in it. Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to think it was my rememory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it's not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place—the picture of it—stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don't think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened." (3.88)

Here we get the first significant moment in which Sethe uses the word "rememory" to mean "memory." Why "rememory"? Well, you could think of "re" as an emphasis on a memory's replayed or reimagined nature—it's something that's being recalled again. See what we mean? We can't even explain it without using a bunch of words that use "re-" as a prefix. Oh, language. You are so sneaky.

Quote #3

But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day. (7.79)

Typical Sethe—totally immersed in and obsessed with the past.

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