The Significance of the Character Shadrack in the Novel Sula by Toni Morrison

1556 Words Jul 8th, 2009 7 Pages
The Significance of The Character Shadrack in The Novel Sula By Toni Morrison The book Sula by Toni Morrison is regarded as one of Morrison’s best work because of the content and structure of the book. Shadrack is an important character in the novel although his appearance in the plot is fairly brief. His significance in the novel stems from the fact that he represents one of the recurring themes of the novel, which is the need for order. Since the need to order and focus experience is an important theme, the character Shadrack illustrates the terror of chaos through his self-proclaimed day “National Suicide Day” in his small town, which portrays the importance of fear, chaos, and death in the book Sula by Toni Morrison. Shadrack, one …show more content…
His holiday, National Suicide Day, becomes part of the language and landscape in The Bottom. The sight and sound of Shadrack walking down the street ringing his bells and proclaiming National Suicide Day are quite normal. The importance of fear is represented through many events in the book. For example, Sharack was a veteran of World War I, so in 1917, he was in battle with his fellow comrades in the treacherous grounds of France (Sula 7). The battle was just detrimental in all sorts of ways because at any time anyone, including Shadrack, could die from a bomb or grenade. For instance in one of the battles fought, which would be the last one Shadrack fought in the war, while running through the fields in pain because a nail pierced the ball of his foot, he witnessed the head of one his comrades get blown off from the rest his body. This traumatic event forever changed the way Shadrack saw things. The word fear comes to mind when speaking about how Shadrack reacted after the war was over. The sudden death of a comrade during the war, as well as the widespread violence and terror he has experienced, has left him cowering and shaking, even when he is away from the battlefield. His mental breakdown is a direct result of his having viewed death constantly and up close. While he is in the hospital, Shadrack prefers to be in a straight jacket; he needs the order and predictability of confinement instead of the