Part One, Chapter 17
Throughout the days, Paul D and Stamp Paid deal with hogs. Cincinatti is the city of pork, exporting the valuable meat back to the Northeast. Stamp Paid programs Paul D the old newspaper clipping about Sethe killing her infant daughter. Paul D insists that the woman in the photo is not Sethe since “that ain’t her mouth.” Stamp Paid, bearing in mind that terrible day, thinks of the reality that no black person sent out warning to Sethe. The 4 white people were riding towards 124 with “the Look,” and everybody who saw it knew what it implied. Stamp believes that there was some meanness that caused the inaction of the black community, jealousy left from the feast weeks earlier. He keeps these thoughts to himself.
However Stamp Paid assists Paul D to read through the post, at the end of which Paul D is still firmly insisting the woman in the drawing can not be Sethe.
The discovery that no one in the black community helped Sethe, all due to the fact that of jealousy targeted at Baby Suggs, is a scary one. It makes the tragedy of the kid’s death the duty not only of Sethe and the whites who concerned get her, but of the entire black neighborhood. Jealous of Infant Suggs, all because of her preaching and her great house and her undamaged household, the community let Sethe take punishment-all would have understood that teacher and his nephews were coming for her and her kids.
Part One, Chapter 18
Sethe, faced by Paul D about the newspaper article, tries to describe herself. She circles the space wildly, starting by discussing the kid who passed away, and after that about what it resembled to be complimentary. All of a sudden, Sethe was permitted to be self-centered, to live her life as if it were her own to live. And her children were free; she felt for the very first time that she might like them totally, because in Kentucky they had actually not been hers to love. What she doesn’t inform Paul D is that when she saw teacher’s hat, it was as if a huge flock of birds was beating in her head. She could not allow her children to be taken.
Sethe still firmly insists that she did the ideal thing. She still believes that her kids were better off dead than under teacher’s rule. Paul D is terrified by her and her claims, feeling that Stamp Paid showed him the post not simply to caution him of what Sethe had actually done however of what Sethe attempts to claim. Sethe loves her children excessive, not understanding where “the world stopped and she started.” What she desired for her children was ensured safety, and she was willing to eliminate them to get it for them. Paul D also is still embarrassed of his sex with Precious, feeling her eyes on him through the ceiling. He informs her that she has two legs and not 4, implying that she is a human and not an animal and that she must have found another method. He leaves 124.
Sethe’s literal circling of the room parallels the method she tells her story, walking around, filling in spaces, trying to explain all the scenarios leading up to the terrible occasion. Her insistence on caring her kids so increasingly actually scares Paul D, who thinks that ex-slaves need to not like so much. He accuses her of having love that is “too thick,” but from Sethe’s viewpoint love is either thick or useless.
The text has actually prepared us for Sethe’s deed by revealing the terrible conditions under slavery and the dehumanization suffered by people when they are owned by other human beings. Sethe could not bear to have her kids treated as animals, and Paul D’s insinuation that she behaved as an animal is especially hurtful because of that. He is also coming down hard on Sethe due to the fact that he is ashamed of his relationship with Beloved, whose look he feels he can not escape. And both he and the black neighborhood watch out for the needs Sethe places on life, for her and her children-demands too proud and intense, in their opinions, for an ex-slave to have.