Author: Toni Morrison Date of Publication: 1987 Genre: PostModern/African-American Novel Setting: Most of the action takes place at 124 Bluestone Road, the address of a gray and white house outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, where Sethe and her daughter presently live. The house had previously served as a way station, run by Baby Suggs, the mother-in-law of Sethe. The novel is largely set in 1873, after the Civil War, but there are many flashbacks to a variety of times and places, including a Kentucky slave plantation called Sweet Home and a prison in Alfred, Georgia.
Characters: Sethe (Protagonist), Denver, Beloved, Paul D. , Baby Suggs, Stamp Paid, Schoolteacher, Halle, Lady Jones, Ella, Mr. and Mrs. Garner, Mr. and Miss Bodwin, Amy Denver, Paul F. , Paul A. , and Sixo Themes: Slavery's, Slavery's destruction of identity, Significance of Community Solidarity and Mutual Care, The Powers and Limits of Language, The Supernatural, Religion (References to Christianity), Confronting the past, Freedom Images: *The color red:Amy's red velvet-hope and brighter future, Paul's red heart-feeling and emotion; also represents contrast (life and death, presence and absence) *Trees: sources of healing, comfort, and life *Tin tobacco box: protecting himself from the past, repressing memories, alienation from emotion, psychological damage *Dying roses: symbol of a new life, yet also foreshadowing rotten end, or finality (stink of death) *Chokecherry tree: yields a bitter fruit, Amy named Sethe's scars-chokecherry tree, she sublimates the site of brutality and trauma into one of beauty and growth *Color: Baby Suggs and her last hope *Healing touch, corn (sexual reference), milk (family bond, care for her children), and iron(repression) (all important, self-explanatory) Narrative/Drama Technique: Stream of consciousness technique, shifts in point of view, magical realism, flashback, allusion Important Quotes: * "Anything dead coming back to life hurts"ÃÂ-Amy (pg 35) * "How loose the silk.
How fine and loose and free"ÃÂ (pg 27) * "Nothing better than that to start the day's serious work of beating back the past"ÃÂ (pg 73) * "Red Heart. Red Heart. Red Heart."ÃÂ "ÃÂPaul D. (pg 117) * " "ÃÂWhose face, who is it' "ÃÂMe, it's me' She is smiling again"ÃÂ "ÃÂDenver and Beloved (pg 124) * "He would keep the rest where it belonged: in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be"ÃÂ-Paul D. (pg 73)