Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1987, which led up to Toni Morrison's winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and is the most-often taught vel by Morrison. It is a rich text, as well as a difficult one, in need of a student guide that can help undergraduates t only to understand the story but to develop sophisticated skills of critical analysis. Students who grapple successfully with Beloved's characters will also gain valuable insight into the major themes of the vel, Morrison's intricate narrative strategies, African American history and culture, and theories useful for interpreting literature.Character Studies aims to promote sophisticated literary analysis through the concept of character. It demonstrates the necessity of linking character analysis to texts' themes, issues and ideas, and encourages students to embrace the complexity of literary characters and the texts in which they appear. The series thus fosters close critical reading and evidence-based discussion, as well as an engagement with historical context, and with literary criticism and theory.
Nancy J. Peterson is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Purdue University, USA. She is Associate Editor of Modern Fiction Studies and Editor of Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches (John Hopkins UP).