Toni Morrison's Sula - Breaking the Rules

Toni Morrison's Sula - Breaking the Rules

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Breaking the Rules in Sula


A community separates themselves from other individuals in a given society. Certain communities carry their own separate rules or laws. It combines a number of people into one group, one way of thinking. Many communities come together because they share the same common goal or interests. On may occasions, a group or community forms when someone is different from the majority. A good example of that would be when  a child is being teased in school because he has glasses or braces. Toni morrison's Sula is a story about a woman whose individuality brought a little town in Ohio together to side with each other against her.

The novel Sula raises the question in how people or communities come together. In Sula's case, her abandonment of the town has sent her in a position of being an outcast. Sula's community views her carefree and wild ways obscene and inappropriate. A good example would be her need for many sexual partners. Sula beds with many of the men in her town, whether they were married or not. " It was the only place where she could find what she was looking for: misery and an ability to feel deep sorrow .Lovemaking seemd to her, at first, the creation of a special kind of joy." (122)  Her community believes a good woman her age should be a mother, wife and server to her household. A woman should remain at home and be dutiful and respectful. Sula is was not any of those things. From the start, she has always have been different, she preferred to do whatever it is that she likes to do. She went away to college , something that most people from her town seldom did. Sula went away to pursue a career and to fulfill her need for knowledge. She wanted to do everything to see everything and experiences as much experience as she could possibly gain while she was still young.

It  was peculiar to see the town coming together when Sula arrived back from college. Suddenly people in the town started siding with each other against Sula. They started viewing Sula as an oddball, a devil, as one lady described her, comparing Sula to the town outcast named Shadrack. The town started to look out for each other as well as they try to look out for themselves.

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They would try not to do things that would be comparable to Sula's behavior. One example would be the little boy Teapot and his mother. Upon having seen Sula help Teapot up after he tripped on the stoop, Teapot's mother assumed that Sula had pushed him. She then took Teapot to the hospital and had him checked. Soon after, rumors erupted about Sula's pushing incident in the community and suddenly, Teapot's mother became the picture of perfect motherhood. Having beaten Teapot prior to the 'pushing incident', Teapot's mother made sure that her boy would never get hurt again and made sure that he was well taken cared of. She began to do this so as to not lower herself to Sula's standards." Mama got a lot of attention and immersed herself in a role she had shown no inclination for". (144)  This type of behavior became very typical among the townspeople. They did not want to commit actions that would harm their image and lower themselves like Sula.

Sula predicatment is very similar to John Updike's Rabbit Run character, Harry Angstrom. Harry wanted very much to do what he pleases and left his family to pursue his urges. Leaving his whole family behind with thier lives in disarray. Because of his absence, Janice, his wife, bonded more with her mom. Whom she had a difficult relationship with prior to Rabbit's leave. The incident also brought the two families, Rabbit's and Janice's together.

It seems that when a when someone decides to act different or when someone is a little different form everyone else, people tend to ostracize them and gang together. This behavior is typical among peers or cliques. Many cliques form because individuals find certain similarities or interests together. They form because they want to act the same, to become a part of a group. This behavior relates to our readings in Fraternity Gang Rape, a novel by Peggy Reeves Sanday. In the novel Sanday explains how boys bond together with this statement: " Throughout childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood, boys may turn to male bonding as a device to seek a position of advantage not only in relation to girls but also in relation to boys against whom they compete." (181) This statement explains how certian individuals, not necessarily just boys gang together to ostracize someone who is different form them.

In Sula's case, many view her as a flamboyant wanton. She is not treated with respect because she chose to lead her life into the direction of what she wanted to do. She did not allow anyone to tell her what she needs to do in her life. Many of us to certain things because we want to fit in.We also do many things that our society tells us to do. A good example to that would be the driving age and drinking age laws that are given in our society today. Many of us do not get to do exactly want we want in life, because of certain rules and limitations we have to face and for fear that we will be outcasted from society or commnities.


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