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However, it was not supported in the first half of the twentieth century at all. In Toni Morrison’s, Sula, she tells the life story and experiences of Sula Peace, and uses her character to describe how individualism and community work together. Sula perfectly fits into the character of a free-spirited woman who doesn’t at all care about what people think of her, which is why she is shunned by her community of The Bottom, in Ohio. Toni Morrison’s novel, Sula, uses the duality of individualism and community to comment on how a society acts after they lose the person they outcasted, when a society prioritizes social norms over equality and fair treatment.
Ultimately, meaning that having a free spirit opposed to following norms that others have set has allowed a person to gain the importance and impact they have on their communities. In the main character, Sula Mae Peace, we see how she reveals her uniqueness through her continuous individualism.
In the beginning, of the book, Toni Morrison uses Sula’s features to show how different she was from the people she was around. While Nel was, “the color of wet sandpaper”, “Sula was a heavy brown with large, quiet eyes, one of which featured a birthmark that spread from the middle of the lid toward the eyebrow, shaped something like a stemmed rose” . This quote reveals that Sula is different from Nel, whom she is always with, which is one of the first differences that readers learn about Sula.
The “heavy brown” and “birthmark that spread” is the individualism that sets Sula apart from the other characters in the book. The fact that Sula is very dark compared to Nel and the fact that she has this distinct birthmark reveals that she is unable to blend in with the rest of her community, which shows how the idea of community failed to work in Sula’s favor. Not only is Sula unable to blend in with her community, she actually decided that she wouldn’t have wanted to blend in anyway. The norm in the Bottom is that women are supposed to have a husband and children, but Sula states that she doesn’t, “want to make nobody else” and would rather make herself”.
This suggests that Sula is a very important character in this book because not only is she unable to be a regular person in the community, but she would rather be an individual than follow the social norms that have been set. By stating that she’d rather build herself than become somebodies mother, Sula makes it extremely clear that she prefers individualism than community. Once Sula starts to get a little older, readers began to notice how she is treated not only by her community, but even by her own family. Sula’s mother, Hannah, expresses her feelings towards Sula when she says, “I love Sula. I just don’t like her”. This shows that the people around Sula really began to have negative feelings about her even as a child, including her own mother.
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