Sula is a novel written by Toni Morrison about uncertainty. The novel embarks into the ideas of good and evil and how these two can sometimes become similar. The novel looks into the unsolved mysteries of human emotions and relationships. In the end, the author ultimately concludes that social conventions are insufficient as a basis in living one’s life and that there are far more significant matters to life than these. The novel (Sula, 2002) looks at the many different ways in which people employ to make their lives more meaningful by defying easy answers, signifying the ambiguity, beauty and terror of life, in its triumphs and horrors.
The novel has been written by Morrison (2002) from the philosophical nature while having her personal insights or experiences fill some of the novel’s pages. She managed to show both good and evil and that two women can actually become one by presenting the lives of two friends who are the main protagonists. The novel revolves around Bottom which is a mostly black community in Ohio, located in the hills above the community of Medallion. The novel tells about the special friendship of Nel and Sula who come from varying levels. Nel is a product of a family that believes profoundly in social conventions.
She comes from a stable home. Nel is unsure of the conservative life her mother, Helene, wants for her. Nel’s doubts become more pronounced when she meets her grandmother Rochelle, a former prostitute and the only unconventional woman in her family line. Meanwhile, Sula’s family is different from that of Nel. Sula lives with her grandmother, Eva and her mother, Hannah, who are being viewed by the people as eccentric and loose. Their house serves as a home for three informally adopted boys all named Dewey and a perpetual number of borders.
Sula and Nel may be different but they become attached with each other during their adolescent years until a traumatic accident changed all that. Sula accidentally dropped a boy named Chicken Little in a river and drowned when she losses her grip to the boy as he swung him around her hands. The two never told anyone about the accident having no intention of harming the boy. Soon, they simply grew apart. Eventually, Nel married and settled into the conventional role of wife and mother. Sula, on the other hand, took a different path and lived a life of independence and total disdain for social conventions.
When she left her community, Sula had many affairs with men, some of whom were white. When she found others doing the same routine, she easily got bored and went back to the Bottom and to her friend Nel after 10 years. Because of her past, the town regarded Sula as an epitome of evil because of her obvious disregard of social conventions. Sula will soon develop an affair with her friend’s husband Jude who later abandoned Nel. This led to the breakup of the friendship of the two characters. Sula’s evilness somehow improved the lives of people in the community by providing them the motivation to live harmoniously with one another.
Sula and Nel renewed their friendship before the former died. The novel is filled with a string of colorful characters in the persons of the following. Cecile is Helene’s strict and religious grandmother. She raised Helene since birth and made her marry Wiley Wright who happens to be her grand nephew. Nel, meanwhile, is the daughter of Helene, who developed an intense friendship with Sula in her adolescent years Nel marries Jude in the novel and was later abandoned by him. The other characters are Chicken Little who is a neighborhood boy who Sula accidentally dropped into the river and drowned when Sula swung him around by his hands.
The Deweys are Eva’s three adopted children she all named Dewey. The three looked different from each other but people somehow saw them looked alike. The Deweys did not grow into full adult size. Old Willy Fields is another character in the novel who is an elderly in the local hospital. Mr. Finley is a resident of the Bottom who choked to death from a chicken bone soon after Sula returned to the community. Jude Greene is Nel’s husband and works as a waiter in the Hotel Medallion. Ajax is the oldest from seven siblings who had lovers fighting over him Ajax’s only true loves were his mother, a conjure woman and airplanes.
He had a distinct way of instilling the most ordinary words with power. BoyBoy peach was Eva’s husband who abandoned her when the three children were still small. Eva worked so hard to keep her family away from hunger. She later became the energetic matriarch over a busy household, which included Hannah, Sula, Ralph, Tar Baby, the Deweys, among others. Hannah Peace is Eva’s oldest child. She moved back in with her mother after her husband, Rekus, died when their daughter, Sula, was three years old. Like her mother, Hannah loves “maleness.
” She has frequent, brief affairs with the men who take her fancy. Many women resent her, but they don’t hate her. Men don’t gossip about her because she is a kind and generous woman. They often defend her against the harsh words of their wives. Pearl is Eva’s second child who married at the tender age of 14 and moved to Flint, Michigan. Ralph, nicknamed Plum, is Eva’s youngest and best-loved child who fought in the First World War and returned home with disturbing memories and an addiction to heroin.
Rekus was Hannah’s husband and Sula’s father who died when Sula was only three years old. The novel is an interesting read. Anyone can easily relate with the characters presented. Good and evil may seem different, but like Morrison (2002) emphasized, the two may also appear similar. We can look at it at the way we view life. The evil actually teaches us to be string individuals and they pose as challenges for us to take. Without them, we may not be able to achieve the ultimate goodness. Work Cited: Toni Morrison, Sula. Plume; Oprah edition (April 5, 2002)