When I read the carnival scene I was infuriated and sad. This is the only entertainment that this family had in 18 yrs, and they had to endure racial slurs and insults. The carnival people felt resentful about even having to entertain blacks for one day, as evidenced by their diminished performances. But, the black citizens had to be grateful because they were given so few privileges (even in the free North states). Morrison uses this to give another example of the sad history of our country.
The arrival of Beloved is confusing for me. It seems like none of the characters are affected very much by this girl’s name. The strangeness of her arrival, her health (the way her head hangs like it has no support), and her name should have given Sethe a clue that something wasn’t normal about her or this situation. However, they just accept her presence and go on. It’s also strange how Denver covers for her (i.e. the incontinence, her strength). Maybe this can be explained by the fact that Denver was so lonely before. Paul D is the only one that seems suspicious there might be something more to her presence.
Paul D’s account of being bound with an iron bit in his mouth and the events at Sweet Home was very disturbing. I thought his description of his heart was also significant: “He would keep the rest where it belonged; in that tobacco tin buried in his chest where a read heart used to be. Its lid rusted shut” (72-73). African Americans had to endure so much just to survive; sadly to cope sometimes people have to shut down their emotions.
I noticed other historical references, such as the description of how the home used to welcome travelers. The references to the underground railroad and people that helped slaves escape was also interesting.