Looking through a Black Feminist Critical Lens, Toni Morrison’s characters in Sula resemble Mary Helen Washington’s definitions of African American female characters. Specifically, Sula, Nel, and Eva; Sula is a Liberated Woman, Nel is a Emergent Woman, and Eva as a Suspended woman. Sula is Morrison’s main character and is a perfect example of a Liberated woman. According to Lois Tyson's definition of a Liberated Woman, Sula has “discovered her abilities, knows what she needs, and goes about getting it.” Along with all these activities, comes pride and independence. It began when Sula was younger as she had Nel, her best friend, by her side. “In the safe harbor of each other's company they could afford to abandon the ways of other people
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She believed it was all Sula’s fault and she hated her for this, but one day she confronts Sula about taking Jude away from her, and Sula asks “What you mean take him away? I didn’t kill him, I just fucked him. If we were such good friends, how come you couldn’t get over it?” Nel starts to think of the idea of it not being Sula’s fault, that Jude was the one who put her through the heart break of being alone. Sula dies and Nel attends her burial. There she realizes that “all that time, [she] thought [she] was missing Jude,” but actually, she missed her friendship with Sula (174). Their friendship was more supportive than her marriage as Sula helped bring out the ’me’ in Nel that she lost in her marriage to Jude. Her epiphany helps her to notice how Jude was the one who hurt her , and now she can move on.
Toni Morrison portrays Eva Peace as a suspended woman. According to Mary Helen Washington, a suspended woman is a “victim of men and of society as a whole, with few or no options.” Morrison starts off Eva’s story with her discontented marriage to her husband, BoyBoy. BoyBoy “liked womanizing best, drinking second, and abusing Eva third,” (32). Eva, disappointingly, tolerates all his abuse, because of her dependency on BoyBoy. One day, when he leaves her and their three children, her dependency becomes clear. Being inconsiderate of his