The language, the imagery, the themes, the characters, everything in Toni Morrison's Sula, touches my heart. I want these people to win, to know goodness in their lives, to stop being small. I want the loud and long cry of rage which has no bottom or top with "circles and circles of sorrow" to end (Sula 174). Morrison embraces the political aspects of her work without apology and freely admits to desiring to emote a reader response. She maintains, "the best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time" ("Rootedness" 345). Without question, Morrison is able to do both. In her analogy, comparing our place as readers of her writing to that of the congregation of the Black preacher, our response to her writing should be "to stand up and to weep and to cry and to accede or to change and to modify-to expand" on what is given (341). We are not to read passively but should feel compelled to respond. Morrison says there are things worth fighting for in this life, regardless of the outcome. The response to an injustice system needs to be rage and the claiming of true value.
Morrison chose certain years for the chapter headings to make a strong political statement. The final chapter, "1965" may relate to the Vietnam War. But "1965", is not just about war. It is about how African Americans are treated by the governing systems even after the war. Starting with the introduction, the creation of the Bottom takes place after the end of slavery. Researching American history, I find that the Juneteenth celebration began a hundred years prior to this year marker. This is a celebration of the ending of slavery.
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipa...
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Furman, Jan. Toni Morrison's Fiction. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.
Guynes, Kristian. “Toni Morrison: Sula’s Application of Literary Activism” January 2, 2013. Web. 3 May 2015.
Montgomery, Maxine Lavon. The Apocalypse in African-American Fiction. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1996.
Morrison, Toni. "Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation." Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation. Ed. Mari Evans. New York: Anchor Books, 1984. 339-345.
Morrison, Toni. Sula. 1973. United States of America: Plume-Penguin Books, 1982.
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