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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.

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Make a difference, does it? You stay the night here snake get you.

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And wouldn't you know he'd be a singing man.

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The threads of malice creeping toward him from Beloved's side of the table were held harmless in the warmth of Sethe's smile.

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Lay my head on the railroad line, Train come along, pacify my mind.

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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.

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How loose the silk. How jailed down the juice.

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Nothing could be counted on in a world where even when you were a solution you were a problem.

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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.

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He wants to put his story next to hers...'We got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kinda tomorrow.

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You your best thing, Sethe.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It was lovely. Not to be stared at, not seen, but being pulled into view by the interested, uncritical eyes of the other.

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What he might call cowardice other people called common sense.

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As soon as one strip of husk was down, the rest obeyed and the ear yielded up to him its shy rows, exposed at last. How loose the silk. How quick the jailed-up flavor ran free. No matter what all your teeth and wet fingers anticipated, there was no accounting for the way that simple joy could shake you. How loose the silk. How fine and loose and free.

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It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder if hell was a pretty place too.

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Men who knew their manhood lay in their guns and were not even embarrassed by the knowledge that without gunshot fox would laugh at them.

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He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose—not to need permission for desire—well now, that was freedom.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing.

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Before and since, all her effort was directed not on avoiding pain but on getting through it as quickly as possible.

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Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle.

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they were believed and trusted, but most of all they were listened to.

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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.

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Rainwater held on to pine needles for dear life and Beloved could not take her eyes off Sethe.

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Good for you. More it hurt more better it is. Can't nothing heal without pain, you know.

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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 don’t get it, feel how it feels to be a coloredwoman roaming the roads with anything God made liable to jump on you. Feel that.

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And if he bathes her in sections, will the parts hold?

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You your best thing, Sethe. You are. His holding fingers are holding hers.Me? Me?

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Amy dragged her eyes over Sethe's face as though she would never give out so confidential a piece of information as that to a perfect stranger.

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For a nickel a month, Lady Jones did what whitepeople thought unnecessary if not illegal: crowded her little parlor with the colored children who had time for and interest in book learning.

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Suspended between the nastiness of life and the meanness of the dead, she couldn't get interested in leaving life or living it.

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Don’t love her too much. Don’t. Maybe it’s still in her the thing that makes it all right to kill her children. I have to tell her. I have to protect her.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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God puzzled her and she was too ashamed of Him to say so.

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Now I know why Baby Suggs pondered color her last years. She never had time to see, let alone enjoy it before.

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to eat, walk and sleep anywhere was life as good as it got.

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Suspended between the nastiness of life and the meanness of the dead, she couldn't get interested in leaving life or living it, let alone the fright of two creeping-off boys. Her past had been like her present—intolerable—and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness, she used the little energy left her for pondering color.

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What's fair ain't necessarily right.

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When good people take you in and treat you good, you ought to try to be good back.

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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.

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Good is knowing when to stop.

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Before the cook arrived when she stood in a space no wider than a bench is long, back behind and to the left of the milk cans. Working dough. Working, working dough. Nothing better than that to start the day’s serious work of beating back the past.

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