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‘Aesthetic’ and ‘rapport’ in Toni Morrison’s Sula

BARBARA JOHNSON

Toni Morrison’s novels have often been read as presenting something beloved, lost, and familiar to an African-American reader. Renita Weems, for instance, writes:

Toni Morrison is one of the few authors I enjoy rereading. Having lived in the North for the last six years (against my better senses), when I read Morrison’s novels I am reminded of home: the South. Although her first three books take place in the Midwest and the fourth primarily in the Caribbeanplaces I have never seen-there is something still very familiar, very nostalgic about the people I meet on her pages. There is something about their meddling communities which reminds me of the men and women I so desperately miss back home.1