Analysis of Sula

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Sula by Toni Morrison explores the notions of good and evil through the friendship of two childhood friends who witness the accidental death of a little boy. Morrison uses the close relationship between Nel and Sula to show how the terms “good” and “evil” often resemble one another. At the end of the novel, Nel, the protagonist, admits to herself that she had blamed his death entirely on Sula and set herself up as the “good” half in her relationship with Sula implying that Sula is the “bad” half. However, Morrison shows that Sula never meant to harm anyone and was just trying to feel as if she belonged. Therefore, she wasn’t “evil” as the town of Bottom labeled her, but she wasn’t “good” either because of her disregard for everyone else’s feelings. As Nel and Sula grow up, they become so connected with each other that they thought of themselves as a single person. They had their different personalities but thought and acted as one. When Sula accidentally dropped Chicken Little in the river and they both watched him drown, Nel did not feel as if the blame was on her. She felt that the blame was entirely Sula’s and therefore started to believe that she was the “better” person. Although Sula was the on who committed the “bad” deed, she was also the one who went looking for help as Nel stood shocked. This shows how Sula cannot be defined as either evil or good. She does something bad but tried to make amends even though she did not “fix” her mistake by getting help. When Jude decides that he likes Nel and wants to marry her, Sula does not get jealous. She helps Nel shine and makes her seem more attractive to Jude. Sula helps build the relationship between Nel and Jude and Morrison contrasts this with the Sula shown in 1937 and later because that Sula is one that breaks relationships and acts in a selfish way. It is ironic that the relationship that Sula helps establish in 1927 right before she leaves is the first relationship that breaks with her arrival in 1937....
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