The Importance Of Individuality In Sula By Toni Morrison

Kin exists beyond a restricted definition of blood relation. Family can be founded in a sense of community and belonging, no matter who mothered you. With this said family expectations can easily come from close loved ones we have in our lives. In Sula by Toni Morrison we witness Nel Wright battle with not only the family rejection and fear of female liberation but also the expectation to exclusively be free within her female friendship with Sula Peace. Nel through this struggle loses the sense of self and get’s lost in the worlds of the loved ones around her instead of dedicating time to experience her own.
Nel comes from a family that has already experienced the disappointment in failed expectations. Her grandmother defied the female gender
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Yet when individuality is achieved can the foundation of family still stand? Nel at a young age refused to be like her mother. Her rebellious thought mirrored her own grandmothers need to be free from societal expectation. Nel had always wanted to be able to exist on her own. She didn’t want anyone being able to define who she was, especially the men and society that made her mother so fearful to truly live. We see this rejection of norms early in her life after her great grandmother's funeral. Nel declared in her bedroom mirror “I am me. I am not their daughter. I’m not Nel. I’m me. Me” (28) This manifesto breaks Nel off from her hereditary family and allows her to begin thinking and working as a single unit. Yet this moment sadly does not last …show more content…
Her new found identity created her own definition of family which she found in Sula. While Sula served as a platform in which she can openly desire and imagine without her mother’s judgment, it also served as a space of unconditional love. In The History Makers interview, Ruth Beckford states "value your friendships because even if you're married, women outlive their husbands and friends are there to hold and support you through everything.” which stands very true for Nel. When entering marriage and witnessing Sula’s disappearance, she realizes how important and vital their he female companionship was. Sula gave Nel the power to truly live and live shamelessly. This love was not a love she could find in a singular man or even her mother. This was a love that was limitless and unbounded. A love that still existed even in betrayal. Even when Jude leaves Nel after sleeping with Sula, in her pain, Nel still needs “someone to confide in{..}, like Sula”(110). No matter what comes between them Nel knows that Sula will always be the one to help her process the struggles in her life. While this proves to be a strong example of constructed family it also can be a dangerous barrier to Nel’s desire to exist

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