restricted access "Something Rogue": Commensurability, Commodification, Crime, and Justice in Toni Morrison's Later Fiction

Drawing on Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise, and offering a close reading of Love, this essay explores how Toni Morrison's later fiction interrogates conceptions of justice that rely on a logic of commensurability (i.e., punishment equal to the crime, redress adequate to the injury, and benefit corresponding to the desert). Commensurability-based notions of justice risk replicating slavery's logic of commodification, Morrison's fiction suggests, by reifying both victims and perpetrators as abstract categories, placeholders in a symbolic exchange, or fungible elements of an equation.