Beloved Chapter 2
Sethe and Paul D have sex, and it's over before they're even completely undressed. The memory of his longing for her when they were at Sweet Home intensifies his desire, so it doesn't last very long. In the awkwardness that follows, they remain silent. Paul D, looking at the tree of scars on Sethe's back, is suddenly revolted, where only moments before he was kissing them. His desire for her, dating back over eighteen years, seems quenched by this encounter. Her chokecherry tree scar reminds him of Brother, the tree he talked to at Sweet Home, and of Sixo, another slave at Sweet Home who used to cook potatoes near Brother for their lunch.
While Paul D is thinking about Brother, Sethe thinks of Baby Suggs' conclusion that "A man ain't nothing but a man. But a son? Well, now, that's somebody." Chapter 2, pg. 23 In Baby Suggs' lifetime, her eight children were fathered by six different men and they were all moved around like checkers -- her children just as easily bought and sold as their fathers. The fact that she got to be with her son, Halle, for 20 years was a gift -- having and keeping a son was special. Despite this, Sethe thinks that even Halle turned out to be just a man because he left her alone to run away, and if the man who bought his mother's freedom was imperfect, Paul D can't be much different.