Toni Morrison, published in 1987 and winner of the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
The work examines the destructive legacy of slavery as it chronicles the life of a black woman named Sethe, from her pre-Civil War days as a slave in Kentucky to her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1873.
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Sethe later has “Beloved” inscribed on her daughter’s tombstone.
Although she had intended for it to read “Dearly Beloved,” she did not have the energy to “pay” for two words (each word cost her 10 minutes of sex with the engraver).
She finally dares to venture outside in order to ask the community for help, and she is given food and a job.
As the local women attempt to stage an exorcism, Denver’s employer arrives to take her to work, and Sethe mistakes him for “schoolteacher” and tries to attack him with an ice pick.
They sought refuge in Ohio, but their owner and law officers soon caught up with the family.
Before their recapture, Margaret killed her young daughter to prevent her return to slavery.