Using the rhetorical theory of narrative as developed by James Phelan, most specifically his ethics of the told and ethics of the telling, this thesis approaches three texts: Dave Eggers’ How We Are Hungry, Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, and Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. After a thorough analysis of each text, I branch away from Phelan’s theory and attempt to define the effects of functions and the ethical aspects of such effects. This then contributes to a larger discussion of the relationship between narrative ethics and narrative aesthetics. Questions concerning characters, functions, and ethics all center upon their greater contributions to the story, the reader’s collaboration with the text, and the inherent dynamics of the progression. What adds the most ‘rhetorical’ weight to a character? Strong telling functions or a vivid ethical position? Finally, I will consider how this may affect our judgments, as we watch the aesthetics of the text and the ethics of the characters work together.