Study Guide

Beloved Chapter 7

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Chapter 7

  • Paul D thinks that Beloved is shining. Shining?
  • What does that even mean?!
  • Well, Paul D can't really describe it. But he's seen it before. In lots of women.
  • In fact, she's so attractive that he starts having sex with Sethe in the mornings, just so that he has a clear head when he gets downstairs.
  • It's not that he likes Beloved. He doesn't. It's just that she's… shining.
  • One day, Paul D starts pressing Beloved for answers like: Where did she come from? How did she get to 124?
  • Beloved turns slowly to him. She says she came a long, long way. And nobody helped her.
  • Paul D can't figure it out. If she came such a long way, why are her shoes brand new?
  • Sethe warns Paul D to leave Beloved alone.
  • She gets so angry that she tells him what she thinks of men…they're all intending to leave.
  • Paul D disagrees. He's never done anything to hurt a woman. Neither did Halle.
  • Outraged, Sethe informs Paul D that Halle had indeed disappointed her. He left her. He never followed her when she ran away.
  • Paul D pauses.
  • Then he tells Sethe that Halle was in the barn when schoolteacher's two boys took her milk.
  • Halle saw them do it.
  • Sethe can't seem to take this information in. It's just too much to think that Halle could have seen one of the most horrible moments of her life.
  • Paul D says that whatever Halle saw, it broke him.He went crazy.
  • When Paul D last saw him, he was sitting by a butter churn with butter all over his face.
  • Sethe turns on Paul D. If he knew this, why didn't he say anything to Halle?Paul D tells Sethe he couldn't—he had a bit in his mouth. You know, like the kind used on horses?
  • Sethe turns away from Paul D, numb.
  • Her brain's moving fast, out of her control; it won't refuse anything that comes into it like, for example, the memory of being raped by the two white boys and how schoolteacher observed the whole thing, all the while taking notes about the incident in his little book. From there, it doesn't take much for her to add the image of what Paul D just told her about Halle and the butter all over his face. Or other things about the past: her brain just won't stop.
  • Paul D comes up to her and tells her that he didn't mean to tell her about Halle.
  • Sethe can tell that Paul D has more to say, especially about his own experience with the bit, but she doesn't really want to hear about it. Why should she? Her brain can already picture the bit in Paul D's mouth, especially since it wasn't uncommon for the bit to be put in everyone's mouth.But she looks at him and asks him about it anyway.
  • Wearing a bit usually breaks a person completely. Paul D doesn't seem broken.
  • Smiling a bit, Paul D tells her that it wasn't the bit that was the worst part. It was seeing the roosters.The roosters were free, especially one called "Mister."
  • And whatever schoolteacher had done, he'd turned Paul D into something less than what Mister the rooster was allowed to be.
  • Pausing, Paul D realizes that he can't tell Sethe anymore. It's too much for both of them.
  • He sighs and locks the rest up inside him.
  • As he thinks, his memories are in a tin box where his heart used to be.

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