Quotes from Beloved by Toni Morrison
Suspended between the nastiness of life and the meanness of the dead, she couldn’t get interested in leaving life or living it…
…there was Sweet Home rolling, rolling, rolling out before her eyes, and although there was not a leaf on that farm that did not want to make her want to scream, it rolled itself out before her in shameless beauty. It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder in hell was a pretty place too.
They were not holding hands but their shadows were.
The closer the roses got to death, the louder their scent…
All of this was an advertisement, read by those who could and heard by those who could not, and the fact that none of it was true did not extinguish their appetite a bit.
Today is always here,” said Sethe. “Tomorrow, never.”
Their quietness boomed about the walls like birds in a panic.
More it hurt the better it is. Can’t nothing heal without pain, you know.
Amy stopped begging Jesus and began to curse his daddy.
“Everything depends on knowing how much,” she said, and “Good is knowing when to stop.”
Freeing yourself was one thing. Claiming ownership for that freed self was another.
Beloved went to look, pausing to watch a cardinal hop from limb to branch. She followed the blood spot shifting in the leaves until she lost it and even then she walked on, backward, still hungry for another glance.
He believed he was having house fits, the glassy anger men sometimes feel when a woman’s house begins to bind them, when they want to yell and break something or at least run off.
…it began to snow like a present come down from the sky. Sethe opened her eyes to it and said, “Mercy.” And it seemed to Paul D that it was–a little mercy–something given to them on purpose to mark what they were feeling so they would remember it later on when they needed to.
They sky was blue and clear. Not one touch of death in the definite green of the leaves.
The sky above them was another country. Winter stars, close enough to lick, had come out before sunset.
Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent.
Clever, but schoolteacher beat him anyway to show him that definitions belonged to the definers–not the defined.
Waiting to live out his life with a whole woman was new, and losing the feeling of it made him want to cry and think deep thoughts that struck nothing solid.
Nobody loved her and she wouldn’t have liked it if they had, for the she considered love a serious disability.
It was three in the afternoon on a Friday and so wet and hot Cincinnati’s stench had traveled to the country. … The stench, the heat, the moisture–trust the devil to make his presence known.
As he drew closer to the old homestead, the place that continued to surface in his dreams, he was even more aware of the way time moved. Measured by the wars he had lived through but not fought in (against the Miami, the Spaniards, the Secessionists), it was slow.
Sifting daylight dissolves the memory, turns it into dust motes floating in light.
“She is a friend of mine. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”
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