Racism and sexism are both themes that are developed throughout the novel Sula, by Toni Morrison. The book is based around the black community of "The Bottom," which itself was established on a racist act. Later the characters in this town become racist as well. This internalized racism that develops may well be a survival tactic developed by the people over years, which still exists even at the end of the novel. The two main characters of this novel are Nel Wright and Sula Peace. They are both female characters and are often disadvantaged due to their gender. Nel and Sula are depicted as complete opposites that come together to almost complete one another through their once balanced friendship. Nel is shown to be a good character because she plays a socially acceptable role as a woman, submissive wife and mother, while Sula conforms to no social stereotypes and lets almost nothing hold her back, thus she is viewed as evil by the people in her community. Both women are judged by how well they fit into the preconceived social conventions and stereotypes that exist in "the Bottom."
The social conventions that are set up in this book play out in a small black community in Ohio called "the Bottom." The community itself formed when a white slave owner tricked his naïve black slave into accepting hilly mountainous land that would be hard to farm and very troublesome instead of the actual bottom (fertile valley) land that he was promised. The slave was told "when God looks down, it's the bottom. That's why we call it so. It's the bottom of heaven-best land there is" (4), and on the basis of this lie a community was formed. Its almost as if the towns misfortune is passed down ...
... middle of paper ...
... what happened as a turn in life and does not feel like she is the cause of Chicken Little's death. She mourns his death and then moves on.
Sula has a feminist spirit and refuses to melt into the typical mold of a woman. She "discovered years before that [she was] neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to [her]" (52). Because of this she decides to lead her life on her own terms. Sula encounters both racism and sexism and is placed in a situation in which she has no release for her wild spirit. She cannot live out in the world with the freedoms of a man, but doesn't want to live as a stereotypically sheltered woman either. In attempting to break these boundaries she is hated by the town and viewed as an "evil" person by the community in which she lives.
Morrison, Toni. Sula. Plume. New York: 1973.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Unhealthy Relationship of Sula and Nel Organisms in nature rely on one another for their well being. However, sometimes those organisms become greedy and decide to take in the relationship, instead of sharing with their symbiotic partner. Through this action, it takes on parasitic characteristics. In Toni Morrison's work, Sula, Sula Peace and Nel Wright demonstrate how a symbiotic relationship goes awry. When one partner betrays the other, by taking instead of giving, the other partner suffers.... [tags: Toni Morrison, Sula Essays]
1391 words (4 pages)
- Toni Morrison's Sula In the book Sula by Toni Morrison, Morrison’s ambiguous link between good, evil, and guilt, she is able to show that these terms are relative to each other and often occur mutually. In her comparison of good and evil, Sula states that "Being good to somebody is just like being mean to somebody. Risky. You don't get nothing for it" (145). Good and evil are being compared as if they are equal and that is how the book is structured. For instance, Eva's burning of Plum is a complex conjunction of motherly love and practicality and cannot be described as simply being a good act or a bad one.... [tags: Toni Morrison Sula Essays]
526 words (1.5 pages)
- A Multi-faceted Interpretation of Sula In The Apocalypse in African-American Fiction, Maxine Lavon Montgomery weaves a multi-faceted interpretation of Toni Morrison's Sula. Montgomery submits, "drawing upon an African cosmological system, Morrison maintains that although life in modern America is chaotic, it is possible to escape life in the West and recover the time of the black community's non-Western beginnings" (74). Though Montgomery makes a highly detailed argument advancing several significant ideas that are well worth acknowledging, her final conclusions exceed what can be clearly supported in Sula.... [tags: Sula Essays]
565 words (1.6 pages)
- Human life is often experienced as a slow and steady drift from one day to the next, with nothing in particular distinguishing each day as unique. In passively conforming to societal norms and expectations, individuals fashion lives for themselves that lack the spark of passionate purpose that characterizes true individuality. Such a poor soul soon develops habits that allow her to cope with the monotony of her existence, and once caught in this perpetual cyclic motion she finds herself advanced in age without ever having truly grappled with the fundamental questions underlying her own existence; she finds herself having already lived her life without yet knowing the life that she wants to... [tags: Toni Morrison, Sula 2014]
1957 words (5.6 pages)
- The Judgment of Sula Toni Morrison first took the stage as a writer in 1970 with her book The Bluest Eye. In 1973 she published her second novel Sula, and she has been writing ever since. Sara Blackburn reviewed Sula for the New York Times when it first made its way onto the scene, and while she did offer a nice plot summary, her review seemed to carry a message addressed to Morrison rather than to the reader. Blackburn begins her article by discussing Morrison's first book, The Bluest Eye, claiming that because of the women's movement The Bluest Eye attracted more attention than it would have and that it was read uncritically because people were pleased with a new talent a... [tags: Sula Essays]
711 words (2 pages)
- The Themes of Folklore, Women's Issues, and Morals in Sula Toni Morrison has asserted that she likes to write the kind of books that she would like to read (Harris 52). By this we can assume she favors black folklore, women's issues, and discussions of accepted moral standards. These are some major themes in Sula. Folktales are a type of oral prose that is passed from one person to another. Listeners may chose to add or subtract from the main story lines, embellishing with experiences and wisdom from their own lives.... [tags: Sula Essays]
1347 words (3.8 pages)
- The Character of Sula as a Rose Authors developed the canon in order to set a standard of literature that most people needed to have read or to have been familiar with. The works included in the canon used words such as beautiful, lovely, fair, and innocent to describe women. The canonical works also used conventional symbols to compare the women to flowers such as the rose and the lily. Thomas Campion depicts the typical description of women in his poem, "There is a Garden in Her Face." He describes the women by stating, "There is a garden in her face/ Where roses and white lilies grow,/ A heavenly paradise is that place,/ Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow" (1044-5).... [tags: Sula Essays]
921 words (2.6 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Sula Essays]
2111 words (6 pages)
- Often in nature organisms rely on one another to survive. Relationships in which each partner gives equally are called symbiotic. The two partners live harmoniously along side one another depending on each other but still have the ability to stand and act alone should they need to. However, these perfect relationships do not always exist. Sometimes, certain organisms take more than they give and as a result the other organism suffers. Those that do this are called parasites. In Toni Morrison's novel, Sula, Sula Peace and Nel Wright demonstrate a symbiotic relationship gone awry.... [tags: Sula Essays]
1227 words (3.5 pages)
- The Fire Within Sula Sula by Toni Morrison is a compelling novel about a unique, self-confident woman. As in many other books, each secondary character in the story serves as a vehicle to explain the main character. Hannah, Sula's mother, is dominated by the element of air; she is free spirited, frivolous and child-like. On the other hand, the element of fire is prevalent in Sula, who is impulsive, hot-tempered and passionate. Despite the differences between the two, Hannah's lifestyle intrigues and influences her daughter. The effect Hannah has on Sula is reflected in many of her daughter's perspectives and actions. As a result of the ubiquitous presence of fire within her, in c... [tags: Sula Essays]
1233 words (3.5 pages)
- Yin and Yang in "Sula"
- Gender, Language and Silence in "The Tragedy of Mariam"
- The Sweet Hereafter and "The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
- Mitchell Stephens in The Sweet Hereafter
- The Relationship between Grange and Ruth in Third Life of Grange Copeland
- Crooks' Transformation in John Steninbeck's Of Mice and Men