Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A.P. Lit Thinks about Vampires: February 4, 2015

Focus: Seriously, who/what is Beloved?

1. Warming up: Trying out a few alternative interpretations of Beloved


a. Beloved is the ghost of Sethe's murdered child.

b. Beloved is an actual girl, not a ghost; until her escape, she was long abused by white men.  Sethe welcomes her as own her child to ease her own guilt and to fill the hole left behind by the true Beloved.

c. Beloved is a symbol of any and every escaped slave.

d. Beloved is a vampire.

(If you recall, Foster states that vampires are about "selfishness, exploitation, a refusal to respect the autonomy of other people...the figure of the cannibal, the vampire, the succubus, the spook announces itself again and again where someone grows in strength by weakening someone else" [16, 21]).

2. Enjoying a Socratic on Beloved, Part 2, Chapter 1

3. Wrapping up

1. If you have a quilt, please bring it to class tomorrow (we'll take good care of it, and you won't have to leave it here or anything).

2. Because of the critical review, we will not be discussing Beloved for a week. By next Wednesday, you will need to finish all of Part 2. I will warn you that the next few chapters are structurally experimental (aka, tough to understand).

3. Friday will be draft day: If you have a draft going, you'll get more out of the editing. However, if you're stuck, use Friday simply to start.

4. I'm extending the due date of your next poetry response since you already have a big essay due Monday.  You may have all the way until next Tuesday, Feb 17 to complete this poetry response.


  1. Beloved Part 2 Chapter 1 Socratic Seminar
    -“124 is loud.” What do you think about the contrast between the beginning of this part vs. the first part?”
    Beloved was a ghost at the beginning, but she is now a character/human, so she is able to make more noise and have more of an impact on the story.
    -What does the jungle represent?
    The jungle represents slavery- once people got out of it, they acted human, but while they were in it, they acted like animals
    The repeating message that ‘you’re not human’ has caused their behavior to change, almost to the point that they are acting unhuman.
    Sethe has behaved very animalistic/instinctive instead of human, and it is interesting that the animal side of them has been instilled in them so that is affects their whole lives.
    -Stamp Paid was walking and found the ribbon/hair by the river. Why did Stamp Paid steal the ribbon? (pg 213)
    The idea that lynching and beating up people is a common thing in this time, so finding the hair/scalp was not unusual; however, finding the ribbon was unusual and made him tired thinking about the state of things.
    Stamp Paid is frustrated because he is never invited into 124. However, he feels bad because he is the cause of Paul D’s departure.
    -Is it really Stamp Paid’s fault (from telling Paul D about Sethe) that Paul D decides to leave, or was he already on the way out?
    It wasn’t the history that Paul D was bothered by- it was the conversation he had with Sethe about it.
    -What was Stamp Paid’s motivation behind showing him the newspaper clipping?
    Stamp Paid feels it is his obligation to tell Paul D.
    Stamp Paid has always been the bridge between slavery and freedom, and this is him metaphorically connecting the two.
    Paul D is the only one in the neighborhood who doesn’t know the history of Sethe, and Stamp Paid feels that he deserves to know.

  2. -What happened that led to Stamp Paid’s freedom?
    About ½ through chapter 1- Stamp Paid was forced to give his wife to his master’s son. He figured this paid his debt to everybody and everything and decided to help others pay their debts.
    -What proof did you find for Beloved being something other that Sethe’s murdered child?
    Beloved is a vampire: pg 137, Beloved forces Paul D to go through tough things so that she can be with Sethe. Pg114 / pg119, Beloved goes for the neck, with cold icy fingers, similarly to common vampires.
    -How does Beloved know all the things she does about Sethe if she isn’t the ghost?
    Sethe ‘breaks water’ when Beloved first shows up- she goes behind the house and urinates.
    Beloved could be considered a symbol for every slave because she knows similar songs to what Sethe knows from her days on the plantation.
    -In the first chapter, why does Morrison choose to have them go ice skating?
    The skates are a metaphor for who has the most control over the situation; Beloved has 2 skates, so she is in full control. Denver has 1, so she has some control, but she still relies on the others. Sethe has no skates, and she relies on the 2 girls almost completely
    -What do you think about the repetition of “nobody saw them falling’ in that scene?
    This is representative of how alone the women of 124 are. They only have each other to rely on when they fall because no one sees them.
    Everyone has seen Sethe fail with her kids, and it’s really important that nobody sees her fail in this situation.
    Wrap Up: pg 236 “She is my daughter” vs the next chapter “Beloved is my sister” vs “I am Beloved and she is mine”- what points of view are these from? Who is the ‘she’ from the last quote?