Mentor Series: Craft in Toni Morrison’s 'Beloved'

Writers learn by reading, by osmosis, and by close examination of the authors we revere. Toni Morrison’s Beloved is one such novel that begs mining. Its labyrinthine structure; its powerful, vivid language and indelible characterization; its defiance of rules and boundaries; and its profound thematic richness swirl together to create a sort of literary sorcery worthy of its Pulitzer Prize. It is a book that lends itself to close reading and group discussion; it is also one that, by its example, has much to teach writers at every level about the craft of fiction and the importance of stories. In this four-week class, we will make our way through Beloved, examining it with the aim of better understanding not only what Morrison accomplishes but also how she does what she does, ultimately integrating that understanding into our own work.