Essay on Toni Morrison's Sula - Character of Sula as a Rose

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The Character of Sula as a Rose

 

Authors developed the canon in order to set a standard of literature that most people needed to have read or to have been familiar with. The works included in the canon used words such as beautiful, lovely, fair, and innocent to describe women. The canonical works also used conventional symbols to compare the women to flowers such as the rose and the lily. Thomas Campion depicts the typical description of women in his poem, "There is a Garden in Her Face." He describes the women by stating, "There is a garden in her face/ Where roses and white lilies grow,/ A heavenly paradise is that place,/ Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow" (1044-5). The roses and lilies are used to portray beautiful, frail
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Unlike all the other women in the story, Sula is tough and does not let others interfere with her. She lives her life by her own rules and standards. The people in the town notice that "except for a funny-shaped finger and that evil birthmark, she was free of any normal signs of vulnerability" (115). Again, the rose symbolized Sula's growth and carefree way of life.

However, the stemmed rose is more than just a mark that changes shades. First of all, the rose represents a part of the whole that has been cut off from the original bush. Hence, Sula does not fit in with the people from the Bottom, and she knows that she leads a different way of life. Sula explains that the women of the Bottom will die "like a stump, [while she will go down] like one of those redwoods" (143). Everyone of the Bottom is alike and united in their hatred and fear of Sula. Because Sula is promiscuous and improper by the Bottom's standards, the women of the town believed they were leading better lives because of they did not live like Sula. In reality, however, the women were denying reality and used Sula to get over their guilt. Sula feels she is on a different level entirely her own, and "she never competed; she simply helped others to define themselves" (95). Society needs her in order to unite against her. Sula cuts herself from the bush of the Bottom because she does not go along with the crowd, represented by the bush.

Next, it is ironic that the rose
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