Toni Morrison

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Beloved: Part 2, Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

This chapter follows Sethe’s stream of consciousness, which repeats the name “Beloved” and insists that “she is mine.” Sethe’s internal monologue of thoughts continually claims that killing her child was an act of love and that the child has now come back to her. Sethe remembers her own mother, who was hanged, and says that she wanted to die after killing her daughter, but knew that she needed to live for her other children.
Sethe’s thoughts show her intense devotion to her children and increasing obsession with Beloved. Her sparse memories of her mother highlight how difficult it is to be a mother under the institution of slavery. Sethe has sacrificed her life for her children, refused to give them up, even killing them to stop anyone from taking them from her, and that obsessive love is overwhelming her.
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Sethe recalls her escape from Sweet Home and the day when she killed her child. She says she wanted to “take us all to the other side where my own ma’am is.” Sethe ends the chapter by saying again that Beloved is her daughter and has come back to her.
Sethe again insists that she killed her child out of love. Her thoughts evidence an extremely strong motherly attachment to her daughter.
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