Get the low-down on Beloved by Toni Morrison, with dank summary and analysis by yo’ boy Sparky Sweets, PhD.
Beloved (1987) | Written by: Toni Morrison | Published by: Knopf
Beloved Thug Notes Summary Analysis
Celebrating Black History Month
What’s good padna? This week we breakin’ dem chains with Beloved by Toni Morrison.
Somethin creepy goin down up at da crib called “124,” where a hardass mama named Sethe livin’ wit her daughter Denver. Apparently, da spot haunted by Sethe’s dead baby girl who ridin’ Sethe and Denver so hard dat they too scurred to leave da house.
And 124 ain’t da only place dat’s kept Sethe locked up. See back in the day, Sethe was a slave at some hell-hole plantation called “Sweet Home” where she went through some of da most dehumanizin’ shit yo bitch-ass can imagine. Eventually she was able to escape dat trap and head to Cincinatti. But even tho she free physically, she still chained up by all dem horrible memories.
One night some G Sethe knew from back at Sweet Home named Paul D drop in at 124. Denver ain’t so happy to see him, but sethe SHO AS HELL IS. Cuz not 5 minutes afta’ seein him, Sethe’s panties on the flo and they gettin buck nasty on da reg. Paul must be givin her the D REAL good, cuz afta’ dat, it’s like the ghost ain’t doggin 124 no mo. And afta’ a while, even Denver start warmin up to this playa.
But the good times don’t last, son. Outta nowhere, some fly lil hunny callin herself Beloved show up lookin ill. Sethe take her in, but there definitely somethin off bout this dip.
Life was gettin’ pretty sweet with Paul and his D in tha house, but now wit Beloved there, errything start fallin to shit. Somethin’ bout Beloved bein there forces Paul otta da crib and he start livin’ in da cold house. One night, tho, Beloved roll up on dat shack and warm dat cold house UP. Naw I’m sayin?? Sex… But fo’ some reason, Pauly can’t enjoy Beloved booty dancing on his junk; instead his mind filled with a buncha horrible memories from Sweet Home. Weird.
Afta Paul and Beloved do tha nasty, Beloved start pushin her weight up in 124 like she own da place and erryone in it.
Then one day, some homie named Stamp Paid all like “Pauly, you ain’t know why Sethe and Denver neva’ leave tha crib?” Apparently, things were all good in da hood fo’ Sethe and da fam afta escapin from Sweet Home. But one day, when Sethe hear her old slavemaster closin in on her new digs, she straight SNAP and say “I’d rather KILL my babies then let dat fool put em in chains!” And girl wasn’t playin, cuz she takes all her kids to tha shed ready to merc erry one of em. The only one she actually kill is a baby girl who she later name Beloved… which make this whole house guest thing pretty damn creepy, amirite?
Paul cain’t believe what he hearin, so he jus grab his shit and bounce.
Wit dat big-balla gone, it’s like Beloved blowin up while Sethe keep shrinkin’. When Denver see how bad Beloved mistreating her mama, she decide she gonna keep it real, get her house outta da house, and do somethin to make dat bitch LEAVE.
Afta’ Denver hit up a buncha black folk around town, a whole posse crew up to get Beloved outta dat house. Errybody start singin, and things lookin good; dat is, until some white dude roll up on the house. He jus’ tryna give Denver a job but Sethe thinkin it her old slavemaster. So she goes APE, grabs an icepick and tries to ice dis fool. Damn girl. Denver and the posse have to take her down, and Beloved hits da road.
Now dat B-lo’s gone, Denver’s knows who she is AND got da joose to get herelf outta da house. Paul D stop actin a fool and come back to tha 124 to build a life with Sethe. Errybody who spent they life in chains is finally one step closer to bein’ free.
Now you might be thinkin: Wassup wit dat girl Beloved? Is she really Sethe’s zombified daughter back from the dead? Is she some creeper pretendin to be a dead baby? Sumethin else? Scholars got all kinda dank theories bout B-lo; cuz truth is, who or what she be ain’t so clear cut, sucka.
My favorite way of thinkin bout it is that it ain’t bout Beloved bein a ghost or a person- what’s important is dat she a symbol, reppin all da horrible shit black folk had to tussle wit over da years: ‘specially da memories of pain, death, and torture durin’ slave times. See, when Beloved drop in at 124, she bring back all dem buried horrors of Paul and Sethe’s time up at Sweet Home.
And to make things worse, Beloved don’t jus make you think bout da past- she make you relive it right here right now. Paul D always talkin bout how he didn’t even feel like a person back at sweet home, sayin bum shit like:
And if you thinkin that ain’t nothin’ gonna make him feel more like a man that a piece of Beloved’s fine ass, you be trippin, yo. After crackin off a piece of summodat hoochie coochie:
Po’ Sethe in da same depressing- ass, rememory-filled boat. Sethe get so amped up on hatred for dem racist slavers, and so full of love and regret fo’ ghosting her own baby-girl, dat she start actin’ like she ain’t even good ‘nuff fo’ forgiveness. Damn girl, show yo’self a lil’ love.
Maybe da reason it’s so damn hard to figger out who or what Beloved be is cuz she a different thing to all da books’ major playas. To paul D, she a mystery and a lover; to Sethe, she a daughter, and a reminder of ol’ pains; to Denver, she a sistah, and a hope dat she won’t eva’ be alone.
Then again, maybe the real clue why Beloved seem different to errybody is in her name: Love. Love look different to errybody. To some, it can breathe life in to yo daily grind like nuthin else. But to others, it can fu** sh** up like you ain’t even know.
So let me show you what love like to this thug: This here subscribe button. So hit it and catch me lata. Peace!