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. Nel and Sula's relationship suffers because Sula unfortunately takes actions that lead to partaking in a parasitic relationship where she begins to wither away. Nel refuses the parasitic lifestyle and relationship, which causes Sula to wither away. In the midst of her death, Sula finally realizes that she needs the symbiotic relationship with Nel to survive. The interactions between Sula and Nel began symbiotically; however, it develops into a parasitic one with the dependence of Sula on Nel.
The symbiotic nature between Sula and Nel began during their adolescent years. Sula depended upon Nel for sturdiness and comfort, while Nel preferred the unpredictable nature of her counterpart. They used the other's lifestyle to compensate for their shortcomings by placing themselves in the other's surroundings. When Sula visited Nel's home, "Nel, who regarded the oppressive neatness with dread, felt comfortable in it, with Sula" (Morrison 29). In the same way, Sula found comfort within the walls of the Wright home. They took solace in each other's presence. Each one finds comfort i...
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...r her. Betrayal of the symbiotic relationship led to the inevitable outcome of becoming a parasite. She made the decision, and had to live with the consequence. Death would be her final consequence.
Bulfinch, Tomas. Bulfinch's Mythology. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1947.
Dudley, Ruth H. Partners in Nature. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, Inc., 1965.
Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Penguin Books Ltd, 1973.
O'Neill, Cynthia. Goddesses, Heroes and Shamans. New York: Larousse Kingfisher Chambers Inc., 1994.
Simon, Hilda. Partners, Guests, and Parasites. New York: The Viking Press, 1970.
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