In the final chapter of Beloved, Morrison uses the phrase "It was/This is not a story to pass on" three times. At first, I thought it was a rather curious statement for an author to put at the end of her novel. What is the point of reading a story that people should not pass on? With further thought, however, I realized that this statement reflected the way that living in the past negatively influences people's lives.
Beloved, as a character, is the embodiment of the past. She is the grown, living child that Sethe killed, and while she stays at 124, the other characters are miserable living with the past. Beloved's presence reduces Sethe to a childlike state, drives Paul D out of the house, and forces Denver to take care of what is left of her family. Throughout the novel, it is clear that Sethe cannot let go of her past and cannot move on with her life as a result. Denver seems to be the only character who despises hearing about the past, so it is no coincidence that she is the first character to realize what Beloved is doing and put a stop to it.
Morrison's statement, "This is not a story to pass on," means that Beloved's story should not be passed on, as it is a story about the past. If people continue to talk about Beloved, they will be unable to move on with their lives and lay the disturbing past to rest.