M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S

Excellent/Interesting Observations and Questions

Here are the names of the people who got "+'s" on their reading responses for Week XI, along with excerpts from people's observations and a list of the "top 10+" questions asked. (Note: when listing the questions, I'll always copy the wording from the first time the question was asked and put the author's name first in the list of names in parentheses after the question, so that everyone who asked a roughly similar question gets some recognition, but the first person who asked it gets more.)

Week XI: Morrison

Honor Roll: Stephanie Armstrong, Bill Belscher, Sarah Boyle, Andrea Caccese, Jeffrey Ciminesi, Jim Degolyer, Stefanie Evans, Marcy Gambino, Jason Golubski, Heather Koski, Kris Krajewski, Russ Leo, Tom Priester, Jake Proper.


Top 10+ Questions

1. "This is not a story to pass on" (274-275). Why isn't this story a story to be passed on? What is Morrison's logic? (Tom Priester) Why exactly is the line "This is not a story to pass on" repeated in the last chapter? (Jeff Green, Nate Cooper)

2. Does water play a significant role in the novel? Sethe's water breaking-- Beloved rises from a stream-- "By and by all trace is gone, and what is forgotten is not only the footprints but the water too and what is down there." What's up with the H2O? (Tom Priester) "It is hard to make yourself die forever," a statement made on page 210, strikes me as being pertinent to our unit on ghosts as a whole. What does it mean within the context of "chapter", and on a larger scale, the novel? What characters does it relate to? On how many levels can it be interpreted? (Russ Leo) The last statement made by Paul D in the novel - "You your best thing, Sethe. You are" (page 273) - is reminiscent of the statement "I am Beloved and she is mine" in that both stress the importance of Sethe's love for herself. What, ultimately, is the connection between Sethe and Beloved (Yeah, I know they are Mother and Daughter, but...) and how does the connection relate to these statements and those like them? (Russ Leo) When Beloved says "a hot thing" could this mean life, vitality, blood and, more indirectly, freedom? -- there was a fire in Sethe that was ignited once she chose to free herself from slavery and protect her children from suffering the same. Could it also just be the life that Sethe possessed that Beloved didn't? (Andrea Caccese) I'm still not sure what the significance of the "pretty white teeth" are - I know Beloved talks about using these to "bite the iron circle" from Sethe's neck. This iron circle: could it be what was placed on Sethe's neck after she killed Beloved? Or could it be a reference to how the trauma of Sethe's past from the milk-stealing at Sweet Home or other traumatic events in her life bind her? (Andrea Caccese)

3. Why is it that on page 210, Beloved gives her little speech and then on page 214, she gives one again that is very similar to the previous one on page 210? What's the point of that? (Jamie Coniglio) Why does Morrison change to the use of poetry later in the story? Do you think that the change was effective, or do you think that it was distracting and confusing? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Alex Herrera) On pages 215-217 the character who's talking keeps changing, why did Morrison choose to put all of these perspectives on Beloved together? Wouldn't it have been easier to follow if she had seperated them? (Marcy Gambino) Many of these lines contradict each other to make me wonder who is really talking. what is this passage about? what is morrisons purpose in writing it? (Jim Degolyer)

4. Why does Morrison make water such an important part of [Beloved's] description of death? (Jesse Reiter) What is the significance of [Beloved's] crouching? (Bill Belscher) In her monologue Beloved talks about "men without skin." Is this her way of saying ghosts, or does it mean something else? (Marcy Gambino, Ryan Barone, Shana Sek, William Smith, Alex Herrera, Bethany Prechtl, Holli Neal, Stephanie Stoddard) Are the men without skin white men? Is this chapter supposed to be a link between slavery and "hell"? (Jim Degolyer) Beloved also talks about a mans face that was with her, was this her father? Why did she concentrate on the man's white teeth? (Marcy Gambino, Heather Giambrone, Stephanie Armstrong, Jinny Compton, William Smith) IN Beloved's monologe on page 210, the man on her face, is that halle? his mouth smells sweet (butter?) but his eyes are locked (he went crazy?) (Shana Sek) What is the significance of the preoccupation with Sethes face? (Ryan Barone) Why must Sethe and Beloved share the same face? Does this relate to Beloved's possible lack of identity? Is Sethe necessary in order for Beloved to function as a person and claim or develope an identity? (Bill Belscher) What are the noisy clouds? (Jesse Reiter) What is the hot thing? Is it a form of hell? Is Sethe the hot thing or does Beloved want to send Sethe to the hot thing? (Heather Giambrone, Jesse Reiter) Beloved speaks of the bridge to Denver earlier in the text, and now again in this section. Is the bridge entirely symbolic, or does it actually exist? (Bill Belscher) What is the significance of the three last sentences: You are mine? (Kristin Konieczny)

5. What significance in the story does Stamp Paid hold? Does he represent the bridge between slavery and freedom? (Jake Proper) Why did Morrison include characters such as Amy Denver and Stamp Paid? How were they important to the story (besides the obvious reasons)? (Cindy Stevens) I still do not fully understand Paul D's role in the story. I also wonder why so much time was devoted to revealing his past while others got very little time. (Kristen Schoonover)

6. There is a lot of animal imagery in this novel. What is the significance of the reference to animals? (Tom Priester, Jessica Sandeen) Is it because slaves were often treated like animals? (Jessica Sandeen)

7. Why did it take so long for the women of the town to come to Denver's help? (Noelle Dull) What made Sethe attack Mr. Bodwin when he came to pick up Denver for work? (Jason Golubski, Stefanie Evans) Did sethe attack mr. bodwin just because he was white, or had he done something to her in the past? (Megan Russell) Why did beloved appear to be naked to mr. bodwin? (Megan Russell) How exactly is Beloved driven out and why does she leave? (Nate Cooper, Sarah Boyle, Mike Krauklis) Did beloved just disappear after sethe attacked mr. bodwin or did the ladies have something to do with her vanishing? was it like an exorcism? (Megan Russell) If she did run because of the community, why would they affect her so much? Was it because they forgave Sethe and the family and forget about Beloved? (Stefanie Evans) What happened to Beloved after she ran away? Did she go back to the dead? If Beloved was pregnant, what happened to the baby at the end? (Jake Proper, Noelle Dull, Stefanie Evans) What happens to Beloved at the end of the novel? I think I really missed something there. What does this mean, within the overall context of the work? (Russ Leo)

8. Does Denver save Sethe from Beloved's grip of evil or is it Paul D's intervention that is the saving grace? (Sarah McNaughton) What made Paul D want to go back and take care of Sethe even though she was in her mentally dilapadated state? (Jason Golubski, Liza Infantino) Why did Paul D abandon Sethe when he learned the truth of what she had done to her children, shouldn't he have understood why she did it, he was in the same situation at Sweet Home that she was in? (Heather Koski) The novel seems to take an approach on the acts effects of slavery as an underlining message as to its horrors. --Could this be why Paul D and Sethes pasts were concentrated on more [than other characters']? (Adam Di Palma)

9. Why was Beloved the only one that was able to open up Paul D's tin can heart? (Alex Herrera) Denver keeps making references to just seeing the tip of something. What is it that she is talking about? (Jinny Compton) Why do you think that Denver realized the real identity of Beloved before Sethe did? (Bethany Prechtl) Why do you think that Sethe could not see that Beloved was the ghost of her daughter at first? Do you think she was really distracted by Paul D, or do you think that she really didn't want to see that it was her daughter, because she was scared? (Jeffrey Ciminesi, Kristen Schoonover, Jinny Compton) Why won't Sethe let Paul D. get close to her? How come Denver is on the ghost's side and not her mother's? (Melissa Lancia) Why was Paul D so upset that Sethe killed her baby? She had good intentions. (Rob Lefferts) What are Beloved's motivations in tempting Paul D into having sex? (Jeff Green) What did Beloved wish to accomplish by having sex with Paul D? (Mike Krauklis, Bethany Prechtl) If Paul D. knew that Beloved was a ghost, why did he sleep with her? That's kinda gross. Why was Paul D so drawn to Beloved anyway? (Jamie Coniglio, Jessica Sandeen) Did we ever find out what happened to Halle? (Holli Neal, Adam Di Palma)

10. What is the significance of Beloved having 'fish hair' as she was running away? (Jason Golubski) What is the significance of "red heart" (p. 117)? (Cindy Stevens)

11. Do you think that the novel would be as affective if Morrison did not make Beloved a ghost? (Sarah McNaughton, Jessica Sandeen) What is [Morrison] trying to accomplish through her use of the ghost? (Melissa Lancia)

M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S

EN 209: Novels and Tales, Spring 1999
Created: 5/11/99, 6:23 pm
Last modified: 5/11/99, 6:23 pm