Summary and Analysis
Part 3: Chapter 28
Beloved disintegrates into nothingness, thereby opening the way to wholeness for Sethe. Gossips forget her over time. Sethe and Denver gradually heal from their harrowing battle with the tireless, vindictive ghost. The sound of a skirt rustling sometimes reminds the family of Beloved's tenure at 124. Footprints come and go at creek side. Eventually, Beloved, like the wind or spring thaw, is "disremembered and unaccounted for."
Morrison, who has carried ghost conventions far past their gothic origins, ends her story with a well-earned and gratifying peace. Some of Beloved's yearnings remain distant, particularly "the underwater face she needed," a reference to her lack of personhood, which was cut off in its formative stage. The neighbors hush their ungentle gossip, and harmony returns to Bluestone Road. Sethe and Denver, no longer imprisoned by the invidious third party, sink into the rhythm of the seasons. The backyard creek, symbolic of time, womanhood, and, by extension, all life, continues to flow. The ghost's footprints recede into nature as Beloved, returned to her grave, no longer clamors for her mother's kiss.