Beloved

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Sixo is one of the slaves at Sweet Home. He is remembered for walking more than thirty miles to see a woman. He steals a pig and eats it, and then tells Schoolteacher that since he was eating it in order to do more work, it wasn’t really stealing. Schoolteacher punishes him for defiance. After his failed escape attempt from Sweet Home, he is deemed crazy and burned alive. He laughs as he dies, since he knows that the Thirty-Mile Woman escaped even if he did not, and that she is bearing his child.

Sixo Quotes in Beloved

The Beloved quotes below are all either spoken by Sixo or refer to Sixo. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Slavery Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Beloved published in 2004.
Part 1, Chapter 10 Quotes

It was some time before he could put Alfred, Georgia, Sixo, schoolteacher, Halle, his brothers, Sethe, Mister, the taste of iron, the sight of butter, the smell of hickory, notebook paper, one by one, into the tobacco tin lodged in his chest. By the time he got to 124 nothing in this world could pry it open.

Related Characters: Sethe, Paul D, Sixo
Related Symbols: Paul D’s Tobacco Tin
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

Paul D describes his journey after escaping from the chain gang. He imagines placing memories into a tobacco tin in his chest, leaving them stored away and inaccessible.

This passage offers one example of how ex-slaves sought to confront their harrowing pasts. Here, Paul D’s strategy is to firmly seal off those memories in a metaphorical tobacco tin. He applies this process indiscriminately—to the cruel “schoolteacher” just as to his lover “Sethe” and to sensory images like butter and hickory. In contrast to the passage in which Sethe railed against how memory’s involuntary nature could easily overwhelm her, Paul D seems to maintain an impressive mastery over his mind.

Yet at the same time, Morrison hints at the fickle and uncontrollable nature of memory. In seeking to control his memories, Paul D must also sever himself from the positive ones. We should pause, similarly, at the image of the “tobacco tin.” Tobacco was one of the original crops grown by slave plantations in the United States, so the tin also serves as an implicit reference to the institution imprisoning Paul D. While this passage might seem to praise Paul D for his precise control over his past, the text both foreshadows that the tin will indeed be someday "pried open" and hints that Paul D's procedure of gaining this control may itself be deeply troubling.

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Sixo Character Timeline in Beloved

The timeline below shows where the character Sixo appears in Beloved. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 2
Storytelling, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
...scar makes Paul think of the trees of Sweet Home. He remembers another slave named Sixo, who once walked 17 hours to see a woman, but had to turn back immediately... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 19
Slavery Theme Icon
Storytelling, Memory, and the Past Theme Icon
...late to work. She takes food back home from the restaurant, which reminds her of Sixo stealing a pig on Sweet Home. Schoolteacher questioned him about it and he said he... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 24
Slavery Theme Icon
Paul D, Sixo, and Sixo’s Thirty-Mile Woman try to escape Sweet Home, but are caught. The Thirty-Mile Woman... (full context)
Slavery Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
...wonders what the monetary values of Baby Suggs, Halle, and others is. He thinks of Sixo laughing as he died because the Thirty-Mile Woman had gotten away, pregnant with Sixo’s child. (full context)