10. Beloved (1987): Sethe's Choice and Morrison's Ethical Challenge

  1. James Phelan

Published Online: 1 APR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118512876.ch10

Reading the American Novel 1920-2010

Reading the American Novel 1920-2010

How to Cite

Phelan, J. (2013) Beloved (1987): Sethe's Choice and Morrison's Ethical Challenge, in Reading the American Novel 1920-2010, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118512876.ch10

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 APR 2013
  2. Published Print: 10 APR 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780631230670

Online ISBN: 9781118512876

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Keywords:

  • Beloved;
  • ethical challenge;
  • novel;
  • rhetorical reader;
  • Toni Morrison

Summary

This chapter focuses on the consequences of Toni Morrison's rhetorical choices for the overall progression and purposes of the novel, Beloved. It begins with the beginning, which shows us that Morrison's esthetic ambitions are significant: she is taking on challenging themes, employing a protean narrator, a complex temporality, and a progression with multiple dimensions. Morrison provides careful ethical guidance through the early steps of the voyage. Morrison's piecemeal disclosure of information not only requires the authorial audience to be very active in piecing the fabula together but also in recognizing implied connections between events. The chapter looks at one such connection to the representations of Sethe's choice, from later in the middle, and at how it affects our configuration of the narrative as a whole.