Essay on Good and Evil in Toni Morrison

Essay on Good and Evil in Toni Morrison

Length: 1419 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Morrison has said, "I can easily project into other people's circumstances and imagine how I might feel if...I don't have to have done this things. So that if I'm writing of what I disapprove of, I can suspend that feeling and love those characters a lot. You know, sort of get inside the character because I sort of wonder what it would be like to be this person..." Both her novels, The Bluest Eye and Sula, speak to this statement.

There are a few characters in The Bluest Eye in which Morrison takes away a negative connotation from their actions. In the Afterwords, she writes, .".., I mounted a series of rejections, some routine, some exceptional, some monstrous, all the while trying hard to avoid complicity in the demonization process Pecola was subjected to. That is, I did not want to dehumanize the characters who trashed Pecola and contributed to her collapse" (211).

Cholly Breedlove is Pecola's and Sammy's father, Pauline husband, and a drunk. Even though the reader learns of his terrible temper, his abusing his wife, and the subsequent rapes of Pecola, and his abandonment of his family, the reader still has an inkling of sympathy for him. This sympathy may stem from Morrison's depiction of his childhood.

We don't meet the vulnerable Cholly at the opening of the book. What we first learn about him is that he burned down his house, and that he abuses his wife. Through Pauline's reflections, we learn how loving Cholly was and how much they loved each other. It is not until later in the novel that we begin to learn about his childhood, and all the humiliating and terrorizing experience he has had.

We learn that Cholly was raised by his great aunt after his father abandoned him and his mother threw him i...

... middle of paper ... know it was you...I mean maybe it wasn't you. Maybe it was me" (146).

Though she was seen as the town's outcasts, someone the community could measure themselves against to know their own goodness, Sula was the realest person. She wasn't someone who tried to be what she wasn't. She did not scorn others in the way they scorned her. In a way, she was more pious. There are other minor characters in which Morrison leaves the blame in the air. Eva killing her son, Ralph, to save him from himself, and his heroine addiction and Teapot's mother abusing and neglecting him until he was hurt because of Sula.

In both novels, Toni Morrison does not want to point the finger at any characters. She wants to give the reader all the information about the characters' life, and their subsequent behavior and let them decide who really is at fault, if there is anyone.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Toni Morrison's Sula Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on The Goddess in Toni Morrison's Beloved

- The concept of the goddess--especially in her three-fold embodiment as maiden, mother, and crone-is amazingly persistent for writers who want to explore gender roles. In particular, Toni Morrison uses the triple goddess to consider varieties of "male" and "female" thinking and to see how many roles an individual may wind up playing. The goddess we are concerned with in this Essay is many and yet one. She is a moon goddess, with triple aspects. Ths most common names she has traveled under are Artemis, Selene, and Hecate....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Strong Essays
1725 words (4.9 pages)

Racism and Sexism in Toni Morrison's Sula Essay

- Racism and Sexism in Toni Morrison's Sula 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....   [tags: Toni Morrison Sula Essays]

Strong Essays
1607 words (4.6 pages)

Toni Morrison's Beloved - The Prophetic Healer Essay

- The Prophetic Healer of Beloved In her novel Beloved, Toni Morrison creates Amy Denver’s character to serve as a prophetic healer. Amy speaks directly to Jesus, recites prophetic like wisdom, and possesses strange abilities to create good. Amy Denver was sent by a higher power to ensure that Sethe reached her well-deserved freedom; their meeting was anything but coincidental. We are introduced to Amy Denver indirectly by Beloved’s curiosity. Perhaps Beloved wants to know just how this happy-go-lucky individual came about....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Strong Essays
1173 words (3.4 pages)

Justifying the Murder in Beloved by Toni Morrison Essay example

- Justifying the Murder in Beloved by Toni Morrison Beloved is a tale about slavery. The central character is Sethe, who is an escaped slave. Sethe kills her child named Beloved to 'save her'. The book is written so that different peoples points of view are put forward in different chapters. Toni Morrison presents three types of love relationships, parent-child, brotherly love and sexual relationships - within or near the confines of slavery. Slavery weakens the bond between mothers and there children....   [tags: Beloved Toni Morrison Essays Papers]

Strong Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)

Exploring Personal Choices in Toni Morrison's Beloved Essay

- Exploring Personal Choices in Toni Morrison's Beloved At the climax of her book Beloved, Toni Morrison uses strong imagery to examine the mind of a woman who is thinking of killing her own children. She writes, "Because the truth was simple, not a long-drawn-out record of flowered shifts, tree cages, selfishness, ankle ropes and wells. Simple: she was squatting in the garden and when she saw them coming and recognized schoolteacher's hat, she heard wings. Little hummingbirds stuck their needle beaks right through her headcloth into her hair and beat their wings....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Strong Essays
1455 words (4.2 pages)

Essay About Tough Love in Toni Morrison's Beloved

- Tough Love in Beloved What kind of mother would cut her child's head off with a hacksaw. This is a question Pulitzer and Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison explores in Beloved, a novel with a chilling metaphor about the legacy of slavery and which finds echoes in another current question, Why is the leading cause of death among young African American men murder by another black. Sethe, the novel's main protagonist, is an escaped slave and mother of four a few years after the end of the Civil War....   [tags: Toni Morrison Beloved Essays]

Free Essays
804 words (2.3 pages)

Theme and Symbolism in the Writings of Toni Morrison Essay

- Chloe Anthony Wofford, better known as Toni Morrison to the literary world, has written many novels in her time between 1970 and 1990. Many of Toni Morrison’s themes and subjects are good and evil, love, hate, friendship, beauty and ugliness, and death. Toni Morrison’s novels and poems can be analyzed in regard to two important literary elements, which are theme and symbolism. Toni Morrison’s writing is affected by her upbringing in Georgia where sharecropping and racial violence were extremely prevalent and by embracing her heritage as a child through African folklore, music, rituals, and myths, where her family was intimate with the supernatural....   [tags: Literacy Analysis ]

Strong Essays
986 words (2.8 pages)

Analysis of Sula by Toni Morrison Essay

- Analysis of Sula by Toni Morrison Toni Morrison wrote a touching story of two childhood friends who test the bonds of friendship and love. Throughout the story there are many themes that implore the reader to look more in depth at their meanings and consequences. The main theme throughout the book is that of friendship. In the novel we are introduced to two young girls from very different backgrounds, Sula and Nel. These two girls are like two sides of one person; they know each other's thoughts, "a compliment to one was a compliment to the other." Although they appear to be best friends through much of the novel, they betray one another in the end....   [tags: Nel Wright Sula Peace Morrison Essays]

Strong Essays
1150 words (3.3 pages)

Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye - Pecola's Mother is to Blame Essay

- Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye - Pecola's Mother is to Blame A black child is born and twelve years later that same child asks, "How do you get someone to love you?" The answer can't be found in Mrs. MacTeer's songs or in the Maginot Line's description of eating fish together, and even Claudia doesn't know because that question had never entered her mind. If Claudia had thought about it, she would have been able to explain to Pecola that although she didn't know exactly how you made someone love you that somehow she knew that she was loved....   [tags: Morrison Bluest Eye Essays]

Strong Essays
1488 words (4.3 pages)