Toni Morrison’s Beloved Quotes (77)

Beloved Quotes

In this blog post we will write a short review on Toni Morrison’s Beloved.

We also collected some of the most heartwarming Beloved quotes, make sure you read those too!

We also have a collection of Scarface quotes which you can enjoy after reading this blog.

Beloved or when too much love can kill…

Toni Morrison rewrites the story of African Americans learning to be masters of their own lives, in an inert present, haunted by the traumas of the past.

It’s hard to read the writer without thinking and comparing her to Faulkner. 

Like this one, her prose is a maze in a black history of America, difficult to summarize, more difficult to forget. 

Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

In short, Beloved is the embodiment of the past, of the price of freedom, it is the epitome of the history of slaves and it is at the same time the tenderness and the demon of the human being. 

The drama of Sethe who has to kill her child so that he does not live in slavery, the drama of the Beloved child, dependent on her mother, killed in the name of freedom, but who paradoxically does not have the time to realize the value of freedom, the drama of other children, incapable to forget and go over what they saw, the story of the surviving daughter, Denver, condemned to solitude in a haunted house at 124.

All Sethe could want after escaping from Sweet Home, at the cost of an unimaginable torture, and killing her own daughter, is a freedom in a somewhat normal life, in a society that is just learning to be its own mistress.

Things remain in an inertia of memories until Paul D, one of the runaway blacks, knocks on their door, and resurrects a part of a past that should have been forgotten.

Everything gets complicated when Sethe’s remorse, her past and her love come to life through the appearance of Beloved, a young woman who came from nowhere, along with the murdered child.

Beloved oscillates between history and magical realism, between the story of slavery told through the story of the characters around Sethe, and the psychological, delusional part of the relationship between Sethe and Beloved. 

The murdered and found child is not a simple ghost who manages to pass into the world of the living; she is a ghost of imagination and memory, the one who transforms those around her, ironically, into slaves to her own memories, so that, as a reader, you ask yourself at a certain point: who is the real ghost here? Beloved or the living?

Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

15 Beloved Quotes

  1. “124 was spiteful. Full of a baby’s venom.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 1
  2. “My first-born. All I can remember of her is how she loved the burned bottom of bread. Can you beat that? Eight children and that’s all I remember.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 1
  3. “a pool of red and undulating light that locked him where he stood.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 1
  4. “If a Negro got legs he ought to use them. Sit down too long, somebody will figure out a way to tie them up.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 1
  5. “I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house, and nothing in between but the daughter I am holding in my arms. No more running–from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this earth. I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something, Paul D Garner: it cost too much! Do you hear me? It cost too much.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 1
Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)
  1. “the house itself was pitching.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 1
  2. “A man ain’t nothing but a man. But a son? Well, now, that’s somebody” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 2
  3. “The picture is still there and what’s more, if you go there–you who never was there–if you go there and stand in the place where it was, it will happen again; it will be there for you, waiting for you. So, Denver, you can’t never go there. Never. Because even though it’s all over–over and done with–it’s going to always be there waiting for you.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 3
  4. “Would it be all right? Would it be all right to go ahead and feel? Go ahead and count on something?” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 3
  5. “To Sethe, the future was a matter of keeping the past at bay. The ‘better life’ she believed she and Denver were living was simply not that other one.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 3
  1. “Denver hated the stories her mother told that did not concern herself, which is why Amy was all she ever asked about. The rest was a gleaming, powerful world made more so by Denver’s absence from it. Not being in it, she hated it and wanted Beloved to hate it too, although there was no chance of that at all.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 6
  2. “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?” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 7
  3. “I don’t want to know or have to remember that. I have other things to do: worry, for example, about tomorrow, about Denver, about Beloved, about age and sickness not to speak of love. But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 7
  4. “Come on, you may as well just come on.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 8
  5. “Those white things have taken all I had or dreamed,’ she said, ‘and broke my heartstrings too. There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 9
Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

20 Beloved Quotes

  1. “Bit by bit, at 124 and in the Clearing, along with others, she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 9
  2. “She had been so close, then closer. And it was so much better than the anger that ruled when Sethe did or thought anything that excluded herself. She could bear the hours–nine or ten of them each day but one–when Sethe was gone. Bear even the nights when she was close but out of sight, behind walls and doors lying next to him. But now–even the daylight time that Beloved had counted on, disciplined herself to be content with, was being reduced, divided by Sethe’s willingness to pay attention to other things. Him mostly.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 9
  3. “Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it; that another stroke of time would do it at last.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 10
  4. “Only when she was dead would they be safe. The successful ones–the ones who had been there enough years to have maimed, mutilated, maybe even buried her–kept watch over the others who were still in her cock-teasing hug, caring and looking forward, remembering and looking back.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 10
  5. “This is worse than when Paul D came to 124 and she cried helplessly into the stove. This is worse. Then it was for herself. Now she is crying because she has no self.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 12
  1. “She doesn’t move to open the door because there is no world out there. She decides to stay in the cold house and let the dark swallow her like the minnows of light above. She won’t put up with another leaving, another trick. Waking up to find one brother then another not at the bottom of the bed, his foot jabbing her spine. Sitting at the table eating turnips and saving the liquor for her grandmother to drink; her mother’s hand on the keeping-room door and her voice saying, ‘Baby Suggs is gone, Denver.’ And when she got around to worrying about what would be the case if Sethe died or Paul D took her away, a dream-come-true comes true just to leave her on a pile of newspaper in the dark.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 12
  1. “If her boys came back one day, and Denver and Beloved stayed on–well, it would be the way it was supposed to be, no? Right after she saw the shadows holding hands at the side of the road hadn’t the picture altered? And the minute she saw the dress and shoes sitting in the front yard, she broke water. Didn’t even have to see the face burning in the sunlight. She had been dreaming of it for years.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 13
  1. “It made them furious. They swallowed baking soda, the morning after, to calm the stomach violence caused by the bounty, the reckless generosity on display at 124. Whispered to each other in the yards about fat rats, doom and uncalled-for pride.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 15
  1. “I would have known right away who you were when the sun blotted out your face the way it did when I took you to the grape arbor. I would have known at once when my water broke. And when I did see your face it had more than a hint of what you would look like after all these years. I would have known who you were right away because the cup after cup of water you drank proved and connected to the fact that you dribbled clear spit on my face the day I got to 124. I would have known right off, but Paul D distracted me. Otherwise I would have seen my fingernail prints right there on your forehead for all the world to see. From when I held your head up, out in the shed. And later on, when you asked me about the earrings I used to dangle for you to play with, I would have recognized you right off, except for Paul D.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 20
  1. “All the time, I’m afraid the thing that happened that made it all right for my mother to kill my sister could happen again. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know who it is, but maybe there is something else terrible enough to make her do it again. I need to know what that thing might be, but I don’t want to. Whatever it is, it comes from outside this house, outside the yard, and it can come right on in the yard if it wants to. So I never leave this house and I watch over the yard, so it can’t happen again and my mother won’t have to kill me too.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 21
  1. “I am Beloved and she is mine. I see her take flowers away from leaves she puts them in a round basket the leaves are not for her she fills the basket she opens the grass I would help her but the clouds are in the way how can I say things that are pictures I am not separate from her there is no place where I stop her face is my own and I want to be there in the place where her face is and to be looking at it too a hot thing.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 22
  1. “I see the dark face that is going to smile at me. It is my dark face that is going to smile at me. The iron circle is around our neck. She does not have sharp earrings in her ears or a round basket. She goes in the water with my face.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 22
  2. “I am not dead I sit the sun closes my eyes when I open them I see the face I lost Sethe’s is the face that left me Sethe sees me see her and I see the smile her smiling face is the place for me it is the face I lost she is my face smiling at me doing it at last a hot thing now we can join.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 22
  3. “‘Seven-O! Seven-O!'” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 24
  4. “Dirty you so bad you couldn’t like yourself anymore. And though she and others lived through and got over it, she could never let it happen to her own. The best thing she was, was her children. Whites might dirty her all right, but not her best thing, her beautiful, magical best thing — the part of her that was clean.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 26
  1. “You your best thing, Sethe. You are.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 27
  2. “Everybody knew what she was called, but nobody anywhere knew her name. Disremembered and unaccounted for, she cannot be lost because no one is looking for her, and even if they were, how can they call her if they don’t know her name? Although she has a claim, she is not claimed.” – Toni Morrison, Beloved, Ch. 28
  3. “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “She is a friend of my mind. She gathered me, man. The pieces I am, she gathers them and gives them back to me in all the right order.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

30 Beloved Quotes

  1. “Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “You are your best thing” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smooths and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind–wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “He wants to put his story next to hers.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “In this place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick me out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You gotta love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You gotta love it. This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver–love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “He licked his lips. ‘Well, if you want my opinion-‘ 

‘I don’t, ‘ She said. ‘I have my own.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Something that is loved is never lost.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my memory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think if, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “if they put an iron circle around your neck I will bite it away” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Let me tell you something. A man ain’t a goddamn ax. Chopping, hacking, busting every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down because they’re inside.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “They encouraged you to put some of your weight in their hands and soon as you felt how light and lovely it was, they studied your scars and tribulations…” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “Today is always here,’ said Sethe. ‘Tomorrow, never.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “Was it hard? I hope she didn’t die hard.’

  Sethe shook her head. ‘Soft as cream. Being alive was the hard part.” ― Toni 

  1. “When warm weather came, Baby Suggs, holy, followed by every black man, woman, and child who could make it through, took her great heart to the Clearing–a wide-open place cut deep in the woods nobody knew for what at the end of the path known only to deer and whoever cleared the land in the first place. In the heat of every Saturday afternoon, she sat in the clearing while the people waited among the trees.

After situating herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and prayed silently.

The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready when she put her stick down.

Then she shouted, ‘Let the children come!’ and they ran from the trees toward her.

Let your mothers hear you laugh,’ she told them, and the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling.

Then ‘Let the grown men come,’ she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees.

Let your wives and your children see you dance,’ she told them, and groundlife shuddered under their feet.

Finally she called the women to her. ‘Cry,’ she told them. ‘For the living and the dead. Just cry.’

And without covering their eyes the women let loose.

It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up.

Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried; children danced, women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven, all and each lay about the Clearing damp and gasping for breath.

In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart.

She did not tell them to clean up their lives or go and sin no more.

She did not tell them they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glory bound pure.

She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine.

That if they could not see it, they would not have it.

Here,’ she said, ‘in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it.

Love it hard…” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Risky, thought Paul D, very risky. For a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love. The best thing, he knew, was to love just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack, well, maybe you’d have a little love left over for the next one.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “She is a friend of my mind. She gathered me, man. The pieces I am, she gathers them and gives them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you have a woman who is a friend of your mind.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. ‘You your best thing, Sethe. You are.’ His holding fingers are holding hers.

  ‘Me? Me?” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder if hell was a pretty place too. Fire and brimstone all right, but hidden in lacy groves.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “No matter what all your teeth and wet fingers anticipated, there was no accounting for the way that simple joy could shake you.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “You look good.”

“Devil’s confusion. He lets me look good long as I feel bad.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Everything depends on knowing how much,” she said, and “Good is knowing when to stop.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “In Ohio seasons are theatrical. Each one enters like a prima donna, convinced its performance is the reason the world has people in it.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “you got two feet, Sethe, not four.” he said, and right then a forest sprang up between them; tactless and quiet.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “Jump, if you want to, ‘cause I’ll catch you, girl. I’ll catch you “fore you fall. Go as far inside as you need to, I’ll hold your ankles. Make sure you get back out. I’m not saying this because I need a place to stay. That’s the last thing I need. I told you, I’m a walking man, but I’ve been heading in this direction for seven years. Walking all around this place. Upstate, downstate, east, west; I’ve been in territory ain’t got no name, never staying anywhere long. But when I got here and sat out there on the porch, waiting for you, well, I knew it wasn’t the place I was heading toward; it was you. We can make a life, girl. A life.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Sifting daylight dissolves the memory, turns it into dust motes floating in light.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “I don’t care what she is. Grown doesn’t mean a thing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that supposed to mean? In my heart it doesn’t mean a thing.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “I used to think it was my rememory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

40 Beloved Quotes

  1. “Sweet, she thought. He must think I can’t bear to hear him say it. That after all I have told him and after telling me how many feet I have, “goodbye” would break me to pieces. Ain’t that sweet.

  “So long,” she murmured from the far side of the trees.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “But her brain was not interested in the future. Loaded with the past and hungry for more, it left her no room to imagine, let alone plan for, the next day.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “But maybe a man was nothing but a man, which is what Baby Suggs always said. They encouraged you to put some of your weight in their hands and soon as you felt how light and lovely that was, they studied your scars and tribulations, after which they did what he had done: ran her children out and tore up the house.

  […]

  A man ain’t nothing but a man,’ said Baby Suggs. ‘But a son? Well now, that’s somebody.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Lay my head on the railroad line. Trains come along; pacify my mind. ” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “It’s gonna hurt, now,” said Amy. “Anything dead coming back to life hurts.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “Clever, but schoolteacher beat him anyway to show him that definitions belonged to the definers – not the defined.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “…fact was she knew more about them than she knew about herself, having never had the map to discover what she was like.

Could she sing? (Was it nice to hear when she did?) Was she pretty? Was she a good friend? Could she have been a loving mother? A faithful wife? Have I got a sister and does she favor me? If my mother knew me would she like me? (140)” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Unless carefree, mother love was a killer.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Those white things have taken all I had or dreamed,” she said, “and broke my heartstrings too. There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Down by the stream in back of 124 her footprints come and go, come and go. They are so familiar. Should a child, an adult place his feet in them, they will fit. Take them out and they disappear again as though nobody ever walked there.

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. The rest is weather. Not the breath of the disremembered and unaccounted for, but wind in the eaves, or spring ice thawing too quickly. Just weather. Certainly no clamor for a kiss.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “And they beat. The women for having known them and no more, no more; the children for having been them but never again. They killed a boss so often and so completely they had to bring him back to life to pulp him one more time. Tasting hot meal cake among pine trees, they beat it away. Singing love songs to Mr. Death, they smashed his head. More than the rest, they killed the flirt whom folks called Life for leading them on. Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it; that another stroke of time would do it at last. Only when she was dead would they be safe. The successful ones–the ones who had been there enough years to have maimed, mutilated, maybe even buried her–kept watch over the others who were still in her cock-teasing hug, caring and looking forward; remembering and looking back.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “The best thing she was, was her children.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “You your own best thing, Sethe. You are.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “She did not tell them to clean up their lives, or go and sin no more. She did not tell them they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek, or its glory-bound pure. She told them that the only grace they could have is the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they could not have it.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “Sad as it was that she did not know where her children were buried or what they looked like if alive, fact was she knew more about them than she knew about herself, having never had the map to discover what she was like.

Could she sing? (Was it nice to hear when she did?) Was she pretty? Was she a good friend? Could she have been a loving mother? A faithful wife? Have I got a sister and does she favor me? If my mother knew me would she like me?” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “No more running-from nothing. I will never run from another thing on this Earth. I took one journey and I paid for the ticket, but let me tell you something, Paul D. Garner: it cost too much!” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “People who die badly don’t stay in the ground.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “It’s not about choosing someone over her. It’s about making space for somebody along with her.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “Outside, snow solidified itself into graceful forms. The peace of winter stars seemed permanent.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it.
  1. “Here,” she said, “in this place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard.

Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it.

They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick me out. No more do they love the skin on your back.

Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands.

Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty.

 Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them.

Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either.

You gotta love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. 

What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear.

What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead.

No, they don’t love your mouth. You gotta love it.

This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved.

Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you.

And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight.

So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. And all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them.

The dark, dark liver–love it, love it, and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet.

More than lungs that have yet to draw free air.

More than your life holding a womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart.

For this is the prize.” Saying no more, she stood up then and danced with her twisted hip the rest of what her heart had to say while the others opened their mouths and gave her the music.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “This here Sethe talked about love like any other woman; talked about baby clothes like any other woman, but what she meant could cleave the bone. Here Sethe talked about safety with a handsaw.

 This new Sethe didn’t know where the world stopped and she began.

Suddenly he saw what Stamp Paid wanted him to see: more important than what Sethe had done was what she claimed.

It scared him.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “And in all those escapes he could not help being astonished by the beauty of this land that was not his. He hid in its breast, fingered its earth for food, clung to its banks to lap water and tried not to love it. 

On nights when the sky was personal, weak with the weight of its own stars, he made himself not love it.

Its graveyards and its low-lying rivers. Or just a house – solitary under a chinaberry tree; maybe a mule tethered and the light hitting its hide just so.

Anything could stir him and he tried hard not to love it.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Kneeling in the keeping room where she usually went to talk-think it was clear why Baby Suggs was so starved for color. There wasn’t any except for two orange squares in a quilt that made the absence shout. 

The walls of the room were slate-colored, the floor earth-brown, the wooden dresser the color of itself, curtains white, and the dominating feature, the quilt over an iron cot, was made up of scraps of blue serge, black, brown and gray wool–the full range of the dark and the muted that thrift and modesty allowed.

In that sober field, two patches of orange looked wild–like life in the raw.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Come see,” I was thinking. “Be the last thing you behold,” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Beloved, she is my daughter. She mine. See. She came back to me of her own free will and I don’t have to explain a thing.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Well, feel this, why don’t you? Feel how it feels to have a bed to sleep in and somebody there not worrying you to death about what you got to do each day to deserve it. Feel how that feels. And if that doesn’t get it, feel how it feels to be a colored woman roaming the roads with anything God made liable to jump on you. Feel that.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “What’s fair ain’t necessarily right.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “In trying to make the slave experience intimate, I hoped the sense of things being both under control and out of control would be persuasive throughout; that the order and quietude of everyday life would be violently disrupted by the chaos of the needy dead; that the herculean effort to forget would be threatened by memory desperate to stay alive. To render enslavement as a personal experience, language must first get out of the way.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Mister was allowed to be and stay what he was. But I wasn’t allowed to be and stay what I was […] School teacher changed me. I was something else and that something else was less than a chicken sitting in the sun on a tub. (Paul D.)” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Bit by bit, at 124 and in the Clearing, along with others, she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “Risky, thought Paul D, very risky. For a used-to-be-slave woman to love anything that much was dangerous, especially if it was her children she had settled on to love. The best thing, he knew, was to love just a little bit; everything, just a little bit, so when they broke its back, or shoved it in a croaker sack, well, maybe you’d have a little love left over for the next one.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “Good for you. More it hurts, the better it is. Can’t nothing heal without pain, you know.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “It was lovely. Not to be stared at, not seen, but being pulled into view by the interested, uncritical eyes of the other.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “I’ll tend to her as no mother ever tended a child, a daughter. Nobody will ever get my milk no more except my own children. I never had to give it to anybody else–and the one time I did it was taken from me–they held me down and took it. Milk that belonged to my baby…. I know what it is to be without the milk that belongs to you; to have to fight and holler for it, and to have so little left.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “so you protected yourself and loved small” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Sethe,” he says, “me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Everybody knew what she was called, but nobody anywhere knew her name. Disremembered and unaccounted for, she cannot be lost because no one is looking for her, and even if they were, how can they call her if they don’t know her name?” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

45 Beloved Quotes

  1. “Down came the dry flakes, fat enough and heavy enough to crash like nickels on stone. It always surprised him, how quiet it was. Not like rain, but like a secret.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “A man ain’t a goddamn axe, choppin’, hacking’, bustin’ every goddamn minute of the day. Things get to him. Things he can’t chop down, because they are inside.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “She knew Paul D was adding something to her life—something she wanted to count on but was scared to… His waiting eyes and awful human power. The mind of him that knew her own. Her story was bearable because it was his as well—to tell, to refine and tell again. The things neither knew about the other—the things neither had word-shapes for—well, it would come in time.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “The last of her children, whom she barely glanced at when he was born because it wasn’t worth the trouble to try to learn features you would never see change into adulthood anyway.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “Take off that coat,’ he told him.

‘Sir?’

‘You heard me.’

The boy slipped out of his jacket, whining, ‘What are you gonna do? What am I gonna wear?’

The man united the baby from her chest and wrapped it in the boy’s coat, knotting the sleeves in front.

‘What I’m gonna wear?’

The old man sighed and, after a pause, said, ‘You want it back then go ahead and take it off that baby. Put the baby naked in the grass and put your coat back on. And if you can do it, then go on ‘way somewhere and don’t come back.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “But I’ve been heading in this direction for seven years. Walking all around this place. Upstate, downstate, east, west. I been to territory ain’t got no name. Never stayin’ nowhere long. But when I got here, and sat out there on the porch waiting’ for you, I knew it wasn’t the place I was heading’ toward, it was you.” –  Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “The box had done what Sweet Home had not, what working like an ass and living like a dog had not: drove him crazy so he would not lose his mind.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “God take what He would,” she said. And He did, and He did, and He did and then gave her Halle who gave her freedom when it didn’t mean a thing.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “Sethe, he says, “me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.”

He leans over and takes her hand. With the other he touches her face. “You your best thing, Sethe, You are.” His holding fingers are holding hers.

“Me? Me?” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Grown doesn’t mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What’s that supposed to mean? In my heart it doesn’t mean a thing.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “Let the children come,’ and they ran from the trees toward her. ‘Let your mothers hear you laugh,’ she told them. And the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling. Then, ‘let the grown men come,’ she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees. ‘Let your wives and your children see you dance,’ she told them. And ground life shuddered beneath their feet. Finally, she called the women to her. ‘Cry,’ she told them. ‘For the living and the dead, just cry.’ And without covering their eyes, the women let loose. It started that way, laughing children, dancing men, crying women. And then it got mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced. Men sat down and cried. Children danced. Women laughed. Children cried until exhausted.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “The threads of malice creeping toward him from Beloved’s side of the table were held harmless in the warmth of Sethe’s smile.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “If I’m here…you can go anywhere you want. Jump if you want to. ‘Cause I’ll catch you, girl. I’ll catch you ‘fore you fall.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “To Sethe, the future was a matter of keeping the past at bay. The “better life” she believed she and Denver were living was simply not that other one.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “Together they stood in the doorway. For Sethe it was as though the Clearing had come to her with all its heat and simmering leaves, where the voices of women searched for the right combination, the key, the code, the sound that broke the back of words.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “He wants to put his story next to hers…’We got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kinda tomorrow.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “The day Stamp Paid saw the two backs through the window and then hurried down the steps, he believed the undecipherable language clamoring around the house was the mumbling of the black and angry dead. Very few had died in bed, like Baby Suggs, and none that he knew of, including Baby, had lived a livable life. Even the educated colored: the long-school people, the doctors, the teachers, the paper-writers and businessmen had a hard row to hoe. In addition to having to use their heads to get ahead, they had the weight of the whole race sitting there. You needed two heads for that. Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Not even trying, he had become the kind of man who could walk into a house and make the women cry. Because with him, in his presence, they could. There was something blessed in his manner. Women saw him and wanted to weep—to tell him that their chest hurt and their knees did too. Strong women and wise saw him and told him things they only told each other:” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “I was talking about time. It’s so hard for me to believe in it. Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to think it was my rememory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still here. If a house burns down, it’s done, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or know, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “Not know it was hard;knowing it was harder” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “it was the right thing to do, but she had no right to do it.

  (Introduction)” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “Make a difference, does it? You stay the night here, snake gets you.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “And wouldn’t you know he’d be a singing man.” ― Toni Morrison, BeloveD
  3. “Daily life took as much as she had. The future was sunset; the past something to leave behind. And if it didn’t stay behind, well, you might have to stomp it out.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “Good is knowing when to stop.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “The school teacher didn’t take advice from Negroes. The information they offered he called backtalk and developed a variety of corrections (which he recorded in his notebook) to reeducate them.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “…the flirt whom folks called Life, lead them on. Making them think the next sunrise would be worth it.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “…some advice about how to keep on with a brain greedy for news nobody could live with in a world happy to provide it.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “you just can’t mishandle creatures and expect success.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  6. “Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood. In a way, he thought, they were right. The more colored people spent their strength trying to convince them how gentle they were, how clever and loving, how human, the more they used themselves up to persuade whites of something Negroes believed could not be questioned, the deeper and more tangled the jungle grew inside. But it wasn’t the jungle blacks brought with them to this place from the other (livable) place. It was the jungle whitefolks planted in them. And it grew. It spread. In, through and after life, it spread, until it invaded the whites who had made it. Touched them every one. Changed and altered them. Made them bloody, silly, worse than even they wanted to be, so scared were they of the jungle they had made. The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin; the red gums were their own. Meantime,” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “You know, the kind who know Jesus by His first name, but out of politeness never use it even to His face.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Lay my head on the railroad line,

Train comes along, pacifies my mind.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved

  1. “What she called the nastiness of life was the shock she received upon learning that nobody stopped playing checkers just because the pieces included her children.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “How loose the silk. How jailed down the juice.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “So he raced from dogwood to blossoming peach. When they thinned out he headed for the cherry blossoms, then magnolia, chinaberry, pecan, walnut and prickly pear. At last he reached a field of apple trees whose flowers were just becoming tiny knots of fruit. Spring sauntered north, but he had to run like hell to keep it as his traveling companion. From February to July he was on the lookout for blossoms. When he lost them, and found himself without so much as a petal to guide him, he paused, climbed a tree on a hillock and scanned the horizon for a flash of pink or white in the leaf world that surrounded him. He did not touch them or stop to smell. He merely followed in their wake, a dark ragged figure guided by the blossoming plums.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “I’ll explain to her, even though I don’t have to. Why I did it. How if I hadn’t killed her she would have died and that is something I could not bear to happen to her.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “You your best thing, Sethe.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “Her heavy knives of defense against misery, regret, gall and hurt, she placed one by one on a bank where dear water rushed on below.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “What he might call cowardice other people called common sense.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “Women did what strawberry plants did before they shot out their thin vines: the quality of the green changed. Then the vine threads came, then the buds. By the time the white petals died and the mint-colored berry poked out, the leaf shine was gilded tight and waxy.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  1. “We could move,” she suggested once to her mother-in-law. “What’d be the point?” asked Baby Suggs. “Not a house in the country ain’t packed to its rafters with some dead Negro’s grief. We are lucky this ghost is a baby.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  2. “Everything depends on knowing how much…Good is knowing when to stop.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  3. “A twenty-year-old man so in love with his mother he gave up five years of Sabbaths just to see her sit down for a change” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  4. “And when she stepped foot on free ground she could not believe that Halle knew what she didn’t; that Halle, who had never drawn one free breath, knew that there was nothing like it in this world. It scared her.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
  5. “Now I know why Baby Suggs pondered color her last years. She never had time to see, let alone enjoy it before.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

Other Mental health quotes which you may like

Below are other mental health quotes which may be of interest to you:

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Famous Samwise Gamgee Quotes
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Conclusions

Through her  novel, Toni Morrison confronts us with a question we would all prefer not to answer, reveals another face of slavery, giving us a history lesson, and at the same time, describes two controversial human characters, impossible to judge or fully to admire.

Because, after all, there will always be something to write, to feel, to remember, from such a history…

Did you read the book? If so, what is your favorite Beloved quote? 

Toni Morrison's Beloved Quotes (77)

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.