The complements to Chapters 20 and 21 are these two lyric statements by Beloved, whose sensibilities and speech revert to babyhood, thus denying her the logic and expression appropriate to her adult body. As she explains, "how can I say things that are pictures.
Still impelled by the bond to motherly love, Beloved insists, "I cannot lose her again. She mourns, "there is no one to want meto say me my name.
In a surreal depiction of the watery division between earth and the afterlife that fails to separate Sethe from her daughter, the departed spirit remains "in the water under the bridge. Although Beloved had no knowledge of the fearful passage, her oneness with the dead forces her to experience the tight compression of black bodies in the hold of the slaves' galley. The ghoulish interrogation between mother and murdered child gets at the truth.
Will you stay? Little Thomas was told, there was his Freddy,--and I was told to take care of little Thomas; and thus I entered upon the duties of my new home with the most cheering prospect ahead. I look upon my departure from Colonel Lloyd's plantation as one of the most interesting events of my life. It is possible, and even quite probable, that but for the mere circumstance of being removed from that plantation to Baltimore, I should have to-day, instead of being here seated by my own table, in the enjoyment of freedom and the happiness of home, writing this Narrative, been confined in the galling chains of slavery.
Going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity. I have ever regarded it as the first plain manifestation of that kind providence which has ever since attended me, and marked my life with so many favors. I regarded the selection of myself as being somewhat remarkable. There were a number of slave children that might have been sent from the plantation to Baltimore.
There were those younger, those older, and those of the same age. I was chosen from among them all, and was the first, last, and only choice.
I may be deemed superstitious, and even egotistical, in regarding this event as a special interposition of divine Providence in my favor. I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood.
No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin.
I remember the first time I ever witnessed this horrible exhibition. I was quite a child, but I well remember it. I never shall forget it whilst I remember any thing. It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness and a participant. It struck me with awful force. It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass. It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it.
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