Essay on Sula, By Toni Morrison

Essay on Sula, By Toni Morrison

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The lack of support and affection protagonists, Sula Peace and Nel Wright, causes them to construct their lives on their own without a motherly figure. Toni Morrison’s novel, Sula, displays the development of Sula and Nel through childhood into adulthood. Before Sula and Nel enter the story, Morrison describes the history of the Peace and Wright family. The Peace family live abnormally to their town of Medallion, Ohio. Whereas the Wrights have a conventional life style, living up to society’s expectations.The importance of a healthy mother-daughter relationship is shown through the interactions of Eva and Hannah Peace, Hannah and Sula, and between Helene Wright and Nel. When Sula and Nel become friends they realize the improper parenting they have received and decide to design their lives into something more useful than their mothers’. The mother-child relationships demonstrate that mothers will make any sacrifice to protect their children from adversity in an unforgiving world, but these maternal instincts do not necessarily result in positive outcomes.
Eva Peace, Sula’s grandmother, is viewed as matriarchal figure to many. She had a boarding house that was not only the home of her children, Plum, Pear, and Hannah, Hannah’s daughter, Sula, but many others from the city of Bottom. To save her son, Plum, from his addiction to heroin after returning from World War I, Eva sets him on fire and kills him instantly. Eva’s love for those who she cared for was very intense for those who surrounded her. Eva’s way of showing love to her children was very misunderstand and against society. “ ‘Mamma, did you ever love us?’ ” (Morrison 58). Hannah questions her mother’s love towards her because she lost the emotional bond between her and h...


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...rld how it is. Nel and her mother go on a train to New Orleans to attend the funeral for her great grandmother. On the train, Nel witnessed racial situation between her mother and the white conductor. “Pulling Nel by the arm, she pressed herself and her daughter into the foot space in front of a wooden seat… at least no reason that anyone could understand, certainly no reason that Nel understood,” (21). Nel was very uncomfortable throughout the trip and wasn’t able to communicate with her mother because she never learned how to since her mother was not supportive of her. Nel views her mother very negatively for the way she raised her. Nel starts to determine her life and great her identity when she became friends with Sula. The effect of negative maternal interactions on an individual is explained by Diane Gillespie and Missy Dehn Kubitschek as they discuss Sula.

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