Toni Morrison's Sula - Sula and Nel as Soulmates

analytical Essay
2111 words
2111 words

Sula and Nel as Soulmates in Toni Morrison's Sula

In examining the two distinct characters of Nel (Wright) Greene and Sula Peace from Toni Morrison's Sula, a unique individual soul emerges from the two women. This soul takes into account good, bad, and gray area qualities. They gray area qualities are needed because, while Nel exhibits more of the stereotypical "good" qualities than Sula, the stereotypes of good and bad don't fit the definition completely. Nel and Sula combined create a type of ying and yang soul, each half including some of the other half. While at times the two women are polar opposites of one another in point of view, they arrive at their opinions with the help of the other. The two characters need each other in order to exist to the extent that they become "two throats and one eye" (Morrison 2167). A physical example of how connected the two girls are is seen when they line up head to head forming a straight, continuous, and complete line (2124).

The greatest influence on a growing girl is her mother, and in some cases, like Sula, her grandmother. In order to fully grasp the connection between Nel and Sula, one must examine who and what their mothers were and what traits and beliefs they handed down to their daughters. Nel's mother, Helene, sought to teach her daughter the ways to be a stereotypical "good woman," a supportive wife and a caring mother. As an example to her daughter, Helene took great pleasure in raising Nel and found in her "more comfort and purpose than she had ever hoped to find" in her life (2105). Helene took pride in motherhood and was proudest when someone complemented on how "obedient and polite" Nel was (2105). Helene's embracing of these qualities, an accommodation to the sta...

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Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Penguin Books Ltd, 1973.

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O'Neill, Cynthia. Goddesses, Heroes and Shamans. New York: Larousse Kingfisher Chambers Inc., 1994.

Pessoni, Michele. “‘She was laughing at their God.’: Discovering the Goddess Within Sula.” African American Review 29 (1995): 439-451.

Rigney, Barbara Hill. The Voices of Toni Morrison. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1991.

Rubenstein, Roberta. “Pariahs and Community.” Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present.

Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 126-1 58.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how nel (wright) greene and sula peace, from toni morrison's novel, create a unique individual soul that takes into account good, bad, and gray area qualities.
  • Analyzes how nel's mother, helene, sought to teach her daughter the ways to be a stereotypical "good woman."
  • Explains that while nel and sula had grown separate emotionally and physically, spiritually they were still connected. they were the opposites of the singular line they had been as kids.
  • Opines that pessoni, michele, was laughing at their god. discovering the goddess within sula.
  • Explains that ed. henry louis gates, jr. and k. a. appiah.
  • Analyzes how the people of the bottom, including helene, saw sula's mother, hannah, as "sooty" and sex as a part of life.
  • Analyzes how the picture of ying and yang sums up nel and sula's connection to one another.
  • Explains davis, cynthia a., and gray, paul. "self, society and myth in toni morrison's fiction."
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