Sula Critical Theory Essay - Black Feminist Theory

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Looking through a Black Feminist Critical Lens, Toni Morrison’s characters in Sula resemble Mary Helen Washington’s definitions of African American female characters. Specifically, Sula, Nel, and Eva; Sula is a Liberated Woman, Nel is a Emergent Woman, and Eva as a Suspended woman.

Sula is Morrison’s main character and is a perfect example of a Liberated woman. According to Lois Tyson's definition of a Liberated Woman, Sula has “discovered her abilities, knows what she needs, and goes about getting it.” Along with all these activities, comes pride and independence. It began when Sula was younger as she had Nel, her best friend, by her side. “In the safe harbor of each other's company they could afford to abandon the ways of other people and concentrate on their own perceptions of things,” (55). Her friendship gave her the comfort to be herself and confident on acting on her own terms. Sula continued this attitude into adulthood but not everyone agreed with her actions towards getting what she wants. Sula leaves for 10 years to go to college and live her life beyond the Bottom. When she finally comes back, she and Eva get into an argument. Eva brings up her disappointment in Sula for not settling down with a family and Sula lashes back with, ”I don’t want to make somebody else. I want to make myself, ” (92). She displays her aversion to not have anyone dependent on her and she wants to only care for herself. Having a family and a husband, in her opinion, would stop her from getting what she wants or needs and would put herself second in her life. Sula doesn’t want to be tied down and oppressed by a man, she wants to be independent and she’s not ashamed about being the only woman wanting her independence . When Nel finally confronts Sula about her affair with Jude, Nel accuses Sula of being proud but she responds with “‘What you talking about? I like my own dirt, Nellie. I’m not proud’,” (142). This shows how Nel, along with everyone in the bottom, thinks...
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