Two Communities, One Land

644 Words2 Pages

In Toni Morrison’s Sula, the theme of race appears in at least every paragraph of the book. This book encompasses the years 1919 to 1965, which includes some very prominent racial demonstrations in history. Morrison portrays race in three contrasting aspects, which are, the division of the black community of Bottom and the white community of Medallion, the viewpoint black people had of white people and the viewpoint white people had of black people.
In the first few pages of the book the contrast of Bottom and the town of Medallion where the white people live is made very apparent. During this time period, white supremacy was at large and slavery and inhumane treatment of black people by white people was very common. The land where the black people of the land live was given to a slave by a white man and is described as: “A joke. A nigger joke. That was the way it got started. Not the town, of course, but the part of town where the Negroes lived, the part they called the Bottom in spite of the fact that it was up in the hills. Just a nigger joke”(4). This portrayal of where the black people lived was shown in contrast to how Medallion is described where the white people lived. Medallion was described as looking like the suburbs and rich looking. The very fact that both of these communities live on the same piece of land, yet are divided, shows how prominent segregation was during this time period.
Black people held a very bitter perspective of the white people that lived in Medallion because of the way the white people treated them. From the very beginning of the story where the slave got the land from his master, the master had tricked the slave into picking the top of the hill because the farming conditions were worse. Over t...

... middle of paper ...

...argeman said he couldn’t go all the way back there, it was every bit of two miles”(64). Chicken Little’s body wasn’t returned to Bottom until three days later, because the white people of Medallion believed that no black people lived in their community, so why should it be their responsibility and problem. This lack of caring about the fact that a child had died, regardless of the color of his skin, shows how stuck in their ways people were about segregation and hierarchy.
With all three of these aspects of racism in consideration, race was a prevalent theme in the book that couldn’t escape the reader’s consciousness. Whether it was through showing the division of the communities, or through the feelings that each race held about the other race, the book portrays the history of racism in America.

Works Cited

Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Knopf;, 1974. Print.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the black people of bottom were able to overcome the anger of being tricked into horrible land conditions by taking small consolation in the fact that they could literally look down on the white folks.
  • Analyzes how the white men of medallion took advantage of the black women in bottom because they felt like they owned them, and showed their feelings of black people through the drowning of chicken little.
Show More
Open Document