Beloved Chapter 7
Paul D notices that Beloved has changed into something sensual, and it makes him uncomfortable. He wonders why only he noticed the change in her, and his discomfort makes him even more suspicious of her intentions. When he asks her how she found 124 and how her shoes appeared new even though she walked to the house, she admits the dress and shoes were stolen, and that she didn't know how to tie them. She tells him that some woman at the bridge told her how to get to 124. She refuses to answer any more questions. Paul D is angry at the timing of her arrival; Sethe, Denver, and he were just becoming a family, and he wants her to leave. He resents that she is still with them, disrupting their lives, but he can't throw her out because 124 belongs to Sethe. He considers having Beloved hired out to someone's home to work as a way to get rid of her, but as soon as he thinks it, she begins to choke. Sethe and Denver rush to take care of her. Denver takes Beloved upstairs to Denver's bedroom to keep a close eye on her.
In an angry confrontation about Beloved, Paul D tells Sethe about how Halle saw the boys nursing her and it drove him crazy. Sethe, on the other hand, can't forget the mental image of Halle watching those men abuse her from his place in the loft above and not stopping them. She also keeps picturing him sitting by the churn with butter smeared all over his face with empty eyes. She thinks:
"Why was there nothing it refused? No misery, no regret, no hateful picture too rotten to accept? Like a greedy child it snatched up everything. Just once, could it say, No thank you? I just ate and can't hold another bite? . . . But my greedy brain says, Oh thanks, I'd love more . . . my brain would go right ahead and take it and never say, No thank you. I don't want to know or have to remember that. I have other things to do: worry, for example, about Denver, about Beloved, about age and sickness not to speak of love." Chapter 7, pg. 70
Paul D explains that he couldn't help Halle because he had an iron bit in his mouth and was on his way to Brandywine's place. He begins telling her about the shame of seeing himself as less than an animal, a barnyard rooster even, but before he gets too far, she stops him. There is only so much tragedy that can be heard at once. When she stops him, he locks those feelings and memories back in his chest in the tobacco tin that has rusted shut and replaced his red heart.