In Toni Morrison’s Sula, gender heteronormative relationships are demonstrated in a very punishable manner. The two main characters Sula Peace, and Nel Right share a very strong, well connected friendship. The two of them are a mirror reflection of each other, with the same desires. Heteronormative institutions in the book do not seem to be stable for the most part. Hannah Peace, the single mother Sula, lives a disordered life in her household while Helene Wright belongs to a conservative and peaceful life, but her husband is never around. With the two daughters of both families being part of each other’s lives, they create a friendship that shows the privilege for female-female bonds over male-male bonds.
Sula by Toni Morrison highlights the themes and expectations that we have been discussing throughout the course. This story illustrates the community expectations for women. A strong basis for a thesis statement for the book Sula could be betrayal. Betrayal in the novel Sula is the central theme that changes the course of life for all characters involved. One example of betrayal happens when Sula sleeps with Nel’s husband. Another basis for a thesis statement could be a mother’s love. In Sula, Morrison revitalizes a theme that is explored in much of her writing: the nature and limits of a mother’s love. When you consider the character of Eva, she is an example of what a mother’s love is and the lengths a mother
Toni Morrison’s novel Sula, examines a wide range of topics, delving particularly into morality, the black female experience, and friendship. The narrative follows childhood best friends, Nel and Sula, as they navigate life in the Bottom, a black community in Ohio. Although inseparable as children, even undivided after accidentally killing a two-year-old boy, they follow divergent paths as adults. Nel leads a life of conformity; Sula does the opposite. An enigma to all, society tries to make sense of Sula through her birthmark. It is a blank slate onto which people project whichever meaning most suits them. The different ways characters perceive Sula’s birthmark reveals more about the interpreter
Toni Morrison’s Sula revolves around the relationship of her two main characters, Sula and Nel. The childhood friends grow apart with age. Although it is indicated that their friendship is the most important relationship they participate in, they eventually betray each other and lead dishonest lives. Throughout the novel, we see their constantly deteriorating relationship as a result of absence of a family life. Sula is a novel about the influence family may have on the make up of someone’s personality. In particular, the novel examines the effect parents can have on their children and the conscious effort the main characters make to be unlike their mothers.
Identity is who a person is or how they see themselves, but is this something they are born with or is it something they learn over time? Can this identity be changed? Or is it permanent once set? Identity is a major theme in Toni Morrison’s Sula. Scholars discuss the different identities that the characters possess, but tend to fail to mention character development or lack of character development. Character development or lack thereof is usually an important literary move in most writing. This development provides a deeper understanding of characters in addition to a deeper understanding of themes throughout the literature. Sula focuses mainly on the lives of Sula and Nel, which makes tracking their character development easier to track and observe their identity and sense of self. Identity is a major, yet easily overlooked theme in Sula.
Nel follows all the stereotypes of what a woman should be. She is a simple God-fearing, church going women who marries young and is very domesticated, tending to the house and her children. Nel chooses to settle into the conventional female role of wife and mother while all throughout her life she has been careful to stick close to the "right" side of conformity. She was raised in a stable, rigid home by a family that has always been careful to keep up a socially respectable persona and an immaculately clean house. Sula on the other hand is the complete opposite. Sula gives social reforms no mind and is in a sense a wild woman that can not be tamed. She defies social conventions by never marrying, leaving her hometown to get an education and having multiple affairs with different men. The home she grew up in was in a constant state of disarray supplied by a steady stream of borders, three informally adopted boys all of whom were renamed Dewey and a line of men waiting for her openly promiscuous mother.
Toni Morrison's Sula is a novel that has a theme about the nature of evil. The story follows the lives of two black female friends who present differing views on evil. On one hand, we have society's conventional view of evil represented by the character of Nel and also seen in the Bottom's disapproval of Sula. The other view of evil is seen through the character of Sula and through her actions, which conflict with traditional society. The friendship of Sula and Nel is how the author conveys her message about evil in the relationship. In the relationship the two different conceptions of evil mix and create an essentially neutral mixture. By looking at Nel's and Sula's friendship and the two different views of evil that they
After her marriage, Nel becomes a conventional, settled down woman. Her life when Sula is not around is much like her life in the “oppressive neatness”(Morrison 29) in her mother’s house. She loses her true unique self after Sula is gone. She realizes this when Sula comes back to Medallion. “Nel felt new, soft and new. It had been the longest time since she had had a rib-scraping
Despite being presented as opposites of good and evil, Nel and Sula are actually quite similar, as both Nel and Sula posses the traits that defined the other, effectively blurring the lines between good and evil. As young girls, Nel pushed herself to become friends with Sula in the first place as “Nel, who regarded the oppressive neatness of her home with dread, felt comfortable in t with Sula, who loved it and would sit on the red-velvet sofa for ten to twenty minutes at a time… As for Nel, she preferred Sula’s wooly house”(29). As a child, Nel yearned to be free and independent, and to be her own individual self separate from who her mother expects her to be. Sula however already lives this life of living in a non-traditional home and
Sula dislikes her disheveled house, and wishes that she could live in a household as clean as that of Nel. Sula?s positive view of Nel?s home challenges Nel to see it in a new light, teaching her to appreciate. This concept stays current throughout the early years of their relationship, each opening the other?s eyes to new idea and ways of living and as they do their friendship grows stronger. The two become practically inseparable, living completely symbiotically and depending on each other for everything. However, this relationship is destined to change.
In the novel Sula, by Toni Morrison we follow the life of Sula Peace through out her childhood in the twenties until her death in 1941. The novel surrounds the black community in Medallion, specifically "the bottom". By reading the story of Sula’s life, and the life of the community in the bottom, Morrison shows us the important ways in which families and communities can shape a child’s identity. Sula not only portrays the way children are shaped, but also the way that a community receives an adult who challenges the very environment that molded them. Sula’s actions and much of her personality is a direct result of her childhood in the bottom. Sula’s identity contains many elements of a strong, independent feminist
Being oppressed by her mother, Nel has an attraction to Sula's carefree environment which, unlike her own, lacks any oppression. Likewise, Sula has an attraction to Nel's peaceful and orderly environment. They both desire something that the other does not have, and that's where such a strong attraction comes from. Together, they are perfect- Nel finds in Sula the youthfulness and the fun she's missing, and Sula finds order and stability in Nel.
For Sula, there is no "other" against which she can then define herself. Having rejected her community and her family, she wanders, trying somehow to define who she is. Sula turns to Shadrack, the local madman, at first because she worries that he saw what happened to Chicken Little, but then because his words truly do comfort her.
This behavior is seen when Nel attempts to recreate the relationship that she and Sula share with someone else, instead of maintaining her relationship with Sula. Now instead of Nel and Sula joined to make one person, Nel and Jude "together would make one Jude." (Page 83) Another of Nel’s negative qualities was how dependent she was on what other thought of her. The only reason Nel ended her relationship with Sula was because she felt she needed to be "needed by someone who saw her singly." (Page 84). Initially this statement appears to state that Nel wishes to become more of an individual, when in actuality it is only further proof that she is completely dependent on what others think of her.Nel’s want to be an individual while still
Despite being a very diverse literature genre in terms of influence and inspiration, North American literature encompasses many works that share some very common thematic elements. Though there are several themes shared, one in particular can be found in most any work – the importance of identity. Particularly in some selected pieces yet to be named, identity is a very important element, not only because it is a necessity for a main character in any work of literature, but because these works express ideas about identity as being very individualistic – as opposed to being a mere result of cultural surroundings. Zora Neal Hurtson’s Their