Sula by Toni Morrison Term Paper

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Good and Evil Explored in Morrison's Sula

Toni Morrison explores the theme of good and evil in her novel, Sula. Throughout the story, we believe that Nel is the better of the two because of what her life represents. Nel's life is prettier than Sula's could ever be and this fact shapes the perspective of the town, Nel, and Sula. As the novel progresses, we begin to see that perception can be misguided and what appears to be good might actually be bad and vice versa. Sula takes us down this rocky path over decades and lifetimes, exposing the headlong opinions of others. Morrison reveals that good and evil are not always easy terms to define in Sula and we are best to stop and think before we judge.

Morrison focuses on one's perceived notion of good and evil by examining the lives of Sula and Nel. Morrison structures the novel in such a way that we, as well as the characters in the novel, perceive Sula to be the darkest, or more evil, of the two. This begins with presenting the girls as total opposites beginning with how each girl was raised. Sula grows up in a "household of throbbing disorder constantly awry with things, people, voices and the slamming of doors" (Morrison 52). On the other hand, Nel lives in a more structured household. As a child, she sat on the back porch "surrounded by the high silence of her mother's incredibly orderly house, feeling the neatness pointing at her back" (51). With these scenes, Morrison prepares us for how the girls grow up and why and are perceived the way they are. History is only one aspect that forms this perception.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Sula by Toni Morrison Assignment

Events, history, and childhood form the other reasons behind this type of thinking. The most significant event being the death of Chicken Little. While it was Sula that threw the boy into the water, it was Nel that encouraged her to run away. It is significant to note that while Sula stood in shock, it was Nel that told her it was not her fault. While the impact of Chicken Little's death seems minute, it comes into play later in the novel. The incident shapes Sula's perception of herself and of the world. From her upbringing, she learned that she could count on no one and from Chicken Little's accidental death, she learned that:

There was no self to count on either. She had no center, no speck around which to grow... She was completely free of ambition, with no affection for money, property or things, no greed, no desire to command attention or compliments - no ego. For that reason she felt no compulsion to verify herself. (119)

Here we see that Sula's foundation is that she has no foundation. Her perception of who she is has a profound effect on her. Her lack of center made the majority of her life an empty search because she did not know for what she was looking.

Lifestyle is another aspect that causes people to form opinions. Sula and Nel live… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Sula by Toni Morrison.  (2008, May 18).  Retrieved May 31, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/sula-toni-morrison/608997

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/sula-toni-morrison/608997.