restricted access Doing Things with Ethics: Beloved, Sula, and the Reading of Judgment

Recent critical history has seen renewed interest in theorizing the ethics attributed to literature. What such interests mean for reading drives the argument of this essay, which contends that an ethics of literature emerges out of the reading problems posed by Toni Morrison's Beloved and Sula. Centered on protagonists whose narratives defy communal as well as literary convention, Beloved and Sula compel readings insistent in their efforts to delineate resolution. Yet in their ceaseless provocation of reading both novels demand that judgments be made even as they suspend the determination of such judgments.