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Free Study Guide-Beloved by Toni Morrison-Free Online Booknotes Summary
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CHAPTER 11

Summary

Beloved is responsible for moving Paul D out of 124 Bluestone even though Paul D believes he is moving himself. He falls asleep one night after supper, sitting upright in a rocking chair. Instead of feeling sore from the uncomfortable position, he feels refreshed when he awakes. The next evening, he does the same thing. He continues to have sex with Sethe every morning, but he keeps finding himself sleeping away from her. One night, Paul D decides to sleep in Baby Suggs’ old room. Sethe does not object since she is now used to sleeping alone. Paul D cannot understand his own behavior. He believes he loves Sethe more every day, but he finds himself moving further away from her physically and emotionally. He soon begins to sleep in the storeroom, then in the cold house. Once there, he realizes the moving is involuntary.

One night Beloved walks into the cold house where Paul D is staying and tells him that she wants him to touch her "on the inside part" and call her by her name. She then hoists her skirt. Tempted but trying to resist, Paul D keeps his eyes glued to the lard can and off Beloved. Her temptations continue, and he finally gives in to his desire. After betraying Sethe, Paul D notices that the rusted-shut lid on the tobacco tin has come loose. Beloved has stirred his true emotions, causing him to repeatedly say, "Red heart."


Notes

In this short chapter, Beloved seduces Paul D. Her ghostly powers are so strong that Paul D cannot resist her even though he diligently tries. Morrison has foreshadowed Beloved’s temptations by having her watch the mating turtle with fascination. The reader clearly understands that Beloved wants to tempt Paul D in order to keep him away from Sethe, whom she wants all to herself.

It is significant that Beloved wants Paul D to call her by name. She is a being in desperate need of recognition. Having been deprived of her mother when she was a toddler and still unrecognized by her, Beloved feels she never had owned an identity; now as a young adult, she wants someone to truly name her.

Paul D reacts to his having betrayed Sethe and the family he has formed with her. After having sex with Beloved, he notices that the lid of his tin can, which has been rusted shut, comes loose. Since he believes that the tin can is the replacement for his hardened hard, Paul D realizes that his actions have caused him to have genuine feelings once again. It is a step in his healing process, and one he must make in order to live a full life with Sethe. It is ironic that what Beloved has done to drive Paul D away from Sethe will have the opposite outcome. Beloved has caused him to have feelings once again, which will help him to form a permanent relationship with Sethe.

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