Character Analysis of Helene in Toni Morrison's 'Sula'

Good Essays
Amanda Howard Period 4
Close Reading #2
#1. When Helene arrives in the south, she is baffled by the severe segregation between colored and whites. Something as simple as using the toilet is segregated so vigorously that “colored” people use “a field of grass” as the restroom. Through Helene’s diction and behavior, she portrays the “luxury” she possessed when going through Tennessee and Kentucky and having the privilege to use a toilet rather then a field of grass. Helene’s surprise reaction to the realities of the segregated south shows how she underestimates the harsh reality of the whites and colored.

#2. The women with four children is a symbol of reality toward Helene’s views on the segregated south. When the woman tells Helene the bathroom is “yonder”, it leaves Helene confused and puzzled. The woman, looking at Helene as a sophisticated person, is dumbfounded by her confusion because of Helene’s educated appearance. This adds to Helene’s characterization by supporting the fact that Helene is naïve and lacks knowledge of the South.

#3. The women is a foil to Helene because through the conversation they have, it creates growth for Helene as a human and makes her realize how life really is in the south. On the other side, the conversation also reveals Helene’s insecurities as a black woman. Because of the confusion the women causes over the restroom, Helene is forced to concentrate and think about what is really going on. When she leaves the train, she is hit harshly with reality. With the help of the woman, she now sees the truth that lies in front of her, even if she desires not to.

#4. The narrator, similar to the woman, highlights Helene’s insecurities. The narrator makes Helene hesitant to ask the women where the restroom was, this shows that she felt a lack of confidence with in herself. Helene’s hesitant action is evidence of the narrator’s diction. The narrator uses confusion and another character to foil Helene to see the truth of

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Satisfactory Essays

    close reading

    • 313 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Close Reading Close reading is an essential task that demonstrates key skills; it is used throughout the Language and Literature course. Specifically, it is used mostly in Part 4 (Detailed Study of Literature) where students complete an IOC (Individual Oral Commentary) on a text studied. Process Skills 1. Read the passage/extract 2. Reread it 3. Annotate for key areas 4. Plan a response 5. Write your response 6. Edit your response Understanding – show the teacher/examiners that you understand…

    • 313 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Close Reading

    • 1400 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Close Reading There are those things in life that hardly take any time to become an expert at. Close Reading is not one of those things. Close reading can most simply be defined as the technique of taking a piece of writing piece by piece and hyper-analyzing every little bit of it. The concept may not seem too difficult and complex, however, most of the thinking behind it is metacognition. Metacognition is the word for thinking about the way you think. Both of these concepts are incredibly important…

    • 1400 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Close Reading

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages

    A Close Reading Exercise From: http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Literature/21L-003Fall2003/E3B42E8B-1A45-447E-938E-7CC3C79F6FC2/0/notes_on_close_reading.pdf What does it mean to read a text closely and analyze it? Why do we do close reading in literary study? The answers to these questions emerge more from the doing than the talking. Briefly, close reading is a basic tool for understanding, taking pleasure in, and communicating one’s interpretation of a literary work. The skills employed…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Close Reading

    • 1965 Words
    • 8 Pages

    dass can encourage you and form the basis of a community that will help and sustain you. But that dass, as helpful as it was, is not where I learned to write. *itirg ike most-maybe all-vriters, I learned to write by and, by example, from reading books. Instead I answer by recalling my owu most valuable experienee not as a teacher, but as a student in one of the few fietion workshops I have ever taken. This was in the 1970s, during ny brief careLr as a graduate student in…

    • 1965 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Close Reading

    • 460 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Close Reading Chapter 13 Pg.264 Briefly explain the context of the passage: The narrator is on a walk after an attempt to get out of the house to clear his mind. He bumps a woman on his way out and she calls the narrator an inappropriate name causing the narrator to speed up. Well thinking about places he could go the narrator reaches a vendor who is selling yams instantly reminding him of the south. The interaction with the vendor causes a sense of homesickness within the narrator. Passage…

    • 460 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Close Reading

    • 586 Words
    • 3 Pages

    I have chosen to do a “close reading” on the first poem in the book, “Land To Light On” by Dionne Brand, for Reading Journal one. After reading this poem, I cannot help but find myself correcting the English grammar in some of the phrases. Such as “If I am peaceful in this discomfort, is not peace, is getting used to harm. Is giving up.” It should be “it is not peace, it is getting used to harm. It is giving up.” Also the last line in the poem should be “My eyes are not mirrors”. Maybe the poet’s…

    • 586 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Close Reading

    • 744 Words
    • 3 Pages

    “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is the story of a man retelling certain events from the past Christmases in his life. He describes many activities an experiences through his eyes when he was a young boy as if they were miracles, some things that many adults overlook and take for granted. “A Christmas Memory” tells the tale of Christmas traditions between a seven year old boy and a grown woman, who the boy views as his cousin and best friend. Each of these stories was written with a certain purpose…

    • 744 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Close Reading of Pkhents

    • 472 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Close Reading of “Pkhents” In the opening scene of “Pkhents,” Abram Tertz introduces a first-person limited narrator, who is also the main character in the story. Unfortunately, Tertz provides no background information about this character. However, as the story progresses, the narrator’s unique mannerisms suggest that he is actually an extraterrestrial who belongs to a different world. A sense of confusion is created about the narrator’s identity when the narrator begins to form specific observations…

    • 472 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Rider Close Reading

    • 1869 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Sample Lesson Plan – Close Reading English Close Reading “The Rider” page 61 Lesson Overview Depending on class needs, this close reading should take two to three days. In this two-day lesson, the teacher begins by having students read and annotate the selected passage individually or as part of a class oral reading. Students then work with vocabulary and story questions. On the second day, students re-read the passage with a partner. They check their annotations and answers. They work…

    • 1869 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Close Reading Paper

    • 1742 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Close Reading Paper: The Turtle Catcher For this assignment I will be analyzing this portion of writing from page 138 of The Turtle Catcher by Nicole Helmet. (For reference in the paper) “I got my enlistment papers today,” said Lars. “Where’re yours?” Herman stopped smiling. He didn’t reply. “I said, Where are yours?” said Lars. “I won’t be going,” Herman said. His voice was straight and calm though his heart thudded as hard as hooves in his throat. “You hear that, Cal?” Lars said to the other…

    • 1742 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays