Essay on Analysis Of Toni Morrison 's ' Sula '

2360 Words Oct 19th, 2014 null Page
When reading Sula by Toni Morrison some people will see race as the defining feature of the characters. However, when taking a closer look at the text it can be seen that the characters identities are much more complicated than this. It is not simply being black that makes the characters identify as such, but the characters choice in how to view themselves that defines them. This can be seen in the contrasting ways Nel and Sula form identities for themselves. Nel constructs her identity based on culturally produced labels, such as race, causing others to view her in these terms as can be seen in her conversation with the dying Sula. While, on the other hand, Sula defines herself by her actions and thoughts which is likewise mirrored by others reactions to her as can be seen in her reflection on the day she failed Chicken Little. This complicates Morrison’s theme of race and identity by showing that people are not forced to accept identifies such as race; they instead construct identities by using specific terms and norms as the base of their actions.
At a glance, it can be seen that one of the themes of Sula is that race not only forms ones identity, but can be inescapable as others imposes this identification on to others. All throughout the book there are phrases like, “a good white farmer” (Morrison 5), “returning Negro veterans” (18), and “decent white man” (133). This makes it seems as though race is a natural part of identity, that is far more obvious than who or what…

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