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Chapter 1 focuses on the desire for bodily release that subtly moves throughout a system of narrative flashbacks and anticipations in Toni Morrison’s Sula (1973) and Beloved (1987). The dozen times the author uses the term “easefulness” in her early works provides a key to the utopian map of these two novels, a set of guidelines for finding the myriad intimations of desired (rel)ease in these iconic works. The ecstatic version of this desire in Morrison’s fiction, “otherwise ease,” corresponds to an ultimate assurance of release, safety, and peace in one’s body and being-in-the-world. The chapter shows how Morrison disperses this desired state throughout a layered network of narrative prolepses and analepses, putting “ease” constantly on the run, revealing itself in the most unexpected corners of memory and anticipation only to move back below the text’s surface and reemerge soon after.

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