Toni Morrison's Sula - The Judgment of Sula

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The Judgment of Sula

 

Toni Morrison first took the stage as a writer in 1970 with her book The Bluest Eye. In 1973 she published her second novel Sula, and she has been writing ever since. Sara Blackburn reviewed Sula for the New York Times when it first made its way onto the scene, and while she did offer a nice plot summary, her review seemed to carry a message addressed to Morrison rather than to the reader.

 

Blackburn begins her article by discussing Morrison's first book, The Bluest Eye, claiming that because of the women's movement The Bluest Eye attracted more attention than it would have and that it was read uncritically because people were pleased with a new talent and ignored the flaws of the book
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Blackburn continues by providing a summary of Sula. While her summary remains accurate, her word choice has a somewhat negative connotation, and could almost be considered mocking. She refers to Nel as a "goody-goody", Sula as insistent and the black community as "scrabbling" (par 4).

 

However, not all of Blackburn's remarks regarding Morrison's work are negative or coated with a disapproving edge. In paragraph seven of her review, she tells the reader that Morrison's novel is "too vital and rich" to be confined within the limits of an allegory. This however seems to be her only truly positive comment about Sula, and while Blackburn praises Morrison for her ability as a writer; she makes no secret for her dislike of Morrison's topics.

 

After going through a laundry list of what the novels flaws are, including the overwhelming bitterness throughout the novel, the narrowness of its setting and characters and its inability to sustain itself past the first readingall of which are arguable points, Blackburn ends by personally attacking what Morrison chooses to write as an author (par 8, 10).

 

She agrees that Morrison is talented, too talented in fact, to remain the "recorder" of the black side of American life. She ends her article by stating that if Morrison were to address different issues, she "might transcend theclassification 'black women writer' and take her place among the most
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