Novel Study – Sula
Sula by Toni Morrison highlights the themes and expectations that we have been discussing throughout the course. This story illustrates the community expectations for women. A strong basis for a thesis statement for the book Sula could be betrayal. Betrayal in the novel Sula is the central theme that changes the course of life for all characters involved. One example of betrayal happens when Sula sleeps with Nel’s husband. Another basis for a thesis statement could be a mother’s love. In Sula, Morrison revitalizes a theme that is explored in much of her writing: the nature and limits of a mother’s love. When you consider the character of Eva, she is an example of what a mother’s love is and the lengths a mother will go to protect her child. When Eva looked out her window and saw her daughter Hanna had caught on fire, Eva jumped out of the window in an attempt to save her. Another example of a mother’s love is the love Helene had for her daughter Nel. Helene’s mother was a prostitute “Helene was born behind those shutters, daughter of a Creole whore who worked there” (Morrison pg. 16), so Helene shelters Nel because she doesn’t want her to end up that way “Under Helene’s hand the girl became obedient and polite” (Morrison pg. 16). Helene wanted and did what she thought was best for her child even if it meant being confined to societal expectations. The plot opens with an introduction to the Bottom which is a predominantly black community in Ohio and the setting for the whole novel. The bottom is situated in the hills above the mostly white, wealthier community in the town of Medallion. The women of the Bottom seemed demoralized by the events taking place in their lives with the various struggles they faced including abuse, death and betrayal. The women in Sula had many expectations that society placed upon them. The female characters seemed to have all been connected through either through broken families, friendships or death....
Citations: Morrison, Toni. Sula . New York: Vintage Books, 1973. Print.
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