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Essay On Identity In Toni Morrison's Sula

Decent Essays
Identity, the reality of being who or what a being is, however who establishes that? A novel by Toni Morrison, Sula, is a magnificent story about identity. Sula is about two inseparable young ladies “Nel and Sula” trying to find their place in this world,though as they age, they distance. What makes you, you? Who or what gives you a place in this world? How does one know if they have an identity or not? Your identity is established by you, however what if you aren’t yourself, but a part of someone else.
First, Nel doesn’t have an identity of her own. Throughout the novel, there are multiple examples where Nel is always adopting someone’s identity just how a mockingbird mocks the chirps of other birds. When Nel meets her grandmother who
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I know what every colored woman in this country is doing.” … “Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I’m going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world.” “Really? What have you got to show for it?” “Show? To who? Girl, I got my mind. And what goes on in it. Which is to say, I got me.” “Lonely, ain’t it?” “Yes. But my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.” (Morrison,...). This is yet another example of how Nel doesn’t have an identity to call her own. This highlights the fact that Nel follows the crowd. Adding on, in Chapter 11 Nel visits Sula’s grandmother and Morrison verbalizes “Tell me how you killed that little boy.” … “The one you threw in the water. I got oranges. How did you get him to go in the water?” “I didn’t throw no little boy in the river. That was Sula.” “You. Sula. What’s the difference? You was there. You watched, didn’t you? Me, I never would’ve watched.” … “Why are you trying to make out like I did it?” Eva stopped ironing and looked at Nel. For the first time her eyes looked sane. “You think I’m guilty?” Nel was whispering. … “You ain’t answered me yet.” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Just alike. Both of you. Never was no difference between you. Want
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