Gourdine, A. K. M. (1998). Hearing Reading and Being "Read" by Beloved. NWSA, 10(2), 13-31.
This essay provides an analysis of not only the novel Beloved, but it also responds to an absence of significant critical discussion that attempts to make sense of Beloved as the central focus of the novel. The argument builds upon three basic concepts. First, it utilizes the concept of Reading from the black linguistic tradition to isolate when and how Beloved speaks. Second, it suggests that this act of signifyin' endows Beloved with what Gloria Anzaldtia calls "la conciencia de la mestiza. " These notions of Reading and mestiza conscience/consciousness are then wedded to a specific reader response critique to suggest that Beloved represents both a past and a future historical conscience. Acting as both a memory and a premonition, Beloved raises human social consciousness and demands moral accountability. Concentrating much of its analysis on the novel's final scenes, this essay challenges the resolution that purportedly comes from Beloved's destruction. Instead, it offers the view that Beloved's demand for accountability blocks recognition of her voice, the heeding of her warning, and even an embracing of her memory.