Sula Toni Morrison " Analyse Morrison’s depiction of love with reference to her development of character, relationships, structure and stylistic devices"
15th May 2014
Unit title: Narrative Fiction
Unit code(s): FC3/3/LN/047
Word Count: 1548
“You love her like I love Sula. I just don’t like her. That’s the difference” (p57). The ambiguities and contingencies of love are central to ‘Sula’. Analyse Morrison’s depiction of love with reference to her development of character, relationships, structure and stylistic devices.
In the novel Sula, It can be viewed that the author Toni Morrison takes an irregular view on the theme of motherly love that affects both the Sula and Nel characters throughout their lives. The absence of Wiley Wright has a damning effect on Helene, after all, the marriage between them is deemed to have followed the conventional views of the time. “Helene became a marriage proposal” (Morrison, 19), indicates that marriage as a thing to be done to create respectability in women rather than being based on love. Subsequently, Wiley’s absence creates an unwanted independence in Helene thus leaving her to raise Nel on her own causing her to take a stern stance on Nel’s upbringing. In turn, Helene plays the role of both mother and father causing the sentimental aspects of loving her child being made secondary to the practicalities of raising her.
Moreover, Morrison overlooks the elements of the absence of maternal love during the early years of Helene and Nel’s relationship, but rather focuses the reader on Helene’s impeccable behaviour towards her town folk and the “oppressive neatness” of her house. (Morrison,29) which draws the conclusion that respectability amongst the cohabitants of Bottom took precedence over the love Helene shows towards Nel.
In contrast, Sula’s household has the same male absence as Nel’s but dissimilar in the region of it being all the more chaotic. Unlike Helene, the Peace household has a vast parade of men passing through their home, but Eva’s dominance is overwhelmingly apparent as the male characters; for example the Dewey’s lives, can be viewed