Susan Neal Mayberry and Sula

Topics: Man, Gender, Male Pages: 2 (859 words) Published: December 9, 2012
After reading Something Other Than a Family Quarrel: The Beautiful Boys In Morrison's Sula by Susan Neal Mayberry, the main point that she discusses is the male identity in the story, Sula by Toni Morrison. Throughout the Mayberry's essay she addresses different aspects in Sula that contribute to the male identity in the story. She also talks about the roles that the men play in the story. In Mayberry's essay she talks about three male characters: Jude, Ajax, and Shadrack. Each of these characters represents something different, but they are all considered to be damaged. Jude represents racial conflict with white people. He envies white people according to Mayberry, but he also resents them as well. Due to that, the community rejects him. Besides him having a racial conflict with white people, he is specifically portrayed to be an underdeveloped and immature man. Mayberry writes, "Jude is simply not whole enough to be a real partner for anyone. He has not integrated the masculine and feminine parts of himself and so remains a boy." Mayberry defines Jude's character to be an immature man, but as a result of inner conflicts he is characterized to be a damaged man. Jude is not the only character to be considered damaged by Mayberry, she also considers Ajax to be damaged as well. According to Mayberry, Ajax represents a wondering spirit. Mayberry writes, “Ajax represents the African American version of the Ulysses theme in literature, the figure of the male in motion, the traveling man seeking not to obtain the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but simply to know what is at the end of the rainbow.” Ajax is a very curious person. As a result of this he goes adventures and he experiences very unique things which to shape his identity. Mayberry compares Ajax to Sula in that they are both curious and adventurous people. Based on Mayberry’s essay she does not attribute Ajax as being damaged because of his adventurous side, but she attributes him to be damaged...
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