Beloved by Toni Morrison

Beloved by Morrison
Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set during 1873 soon after the American Civil War (1861–1865), it is based on the true story of the African-American slaveMargaret Garner, who temporarily escaped slavery during 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state. A posse arrived to retrieve her and her children by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which gave slave owners the right to pursue slaves across state borders. Margaret killed her two-year-old daughter rather than allow her to be recaptured.

From the book

124 WAS SPITEFUL. Full of a baby's venom. The women in the house knew it and
so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but
by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver were its only victims. The grandmother,
Baby Suggs, was dead, and the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time
they were thirteen years old--as soon as merely looking in a mirror shattered
it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny hand prints appeared
in the cake (that was it for Howard). Neither boy waited to see more; another
kettleful of chickpeas smoking in a heap on the floor; soda crackers crumbled
and strewn in a line next to the door sill. Nor did they wait for one of the
relief periods: the weeks, months even, when nothing was disturbed. No. Each
one fled at once--the moment the house committed what was for him the one
insult not to be borne or witnessed a second time. Within two months, in the
dead of winter, leaving their grandmother, Baby Suggs; Sethe, their mother; and
their little sister, Denver, all by themselves in the gray and white house on
Bluestone Road. It didn't have a number then, because Cincinnati didn't stretch
that far. In fact, Ohio had been calling itself a state only seventy years when
first one brother and then the next stuffed quilt packing into his hat,
snatched up his shoes, and crept away from the lively spite the house felt for
Baby Suggs didn't even raise her head. From her sickbed she heard them go
but that wasn't the reason she lay still. It was a wonder to her that her
grandsons had taken so long to realize that every house wasn't like the one on
Bluestone Road. Suspended between the nas tiness of life and the meanness of
the dead, she couldn't get interested in leaving life or living it, let alone
the fright of two creeping-off boys. Her past had been like her present--intolerable--and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness, she used
the little energy left her for pondering color.
"Bring a little lavender in, if you got any. Pink, if you don't."
And Sethe would oblige her with anything from fabric to her own tongue.
Winter in Ohio was especially rough if you had an appetite for color. Sky
provided the only drama, and counting on a Cincinnati horizon for life's
principal joy was reckless indeed. So Sethe and the girl Denver did what they
could, and what the house permitted, for her. Together they waged a perfunctory
battle against the outrageous behavior of that place; against turned-over slop
jars, smacks on the behind, and gusts of sour air. For they understood the 
source of the outrage as well as they knew the source of light.

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