Toni Morrison's Sula - Sula and Nel as Soulmates Essay

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Sula and Nel as Soulmates in Toni Morrison's Sula

In examining the two distinct characters of Nel (Wright) Greene and Sula Peace from Toni Morrison's Sula, a unique individual soul emerges from the two women. This soul takes into account good, bad, and gray area qualities. They gray area qualities are needed because, while Nel exhibits more of the stereotypical "good" qualities than Sula, the stereotypes of good and bad don't fit the definition completely. Nel and Sula combined create a type of ying and yang soul, each half including some of the other half. While at times the two women are polar opposites of one another in point of view, they arrive at their opinions with the help of the other. The two characters need each other in
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Helene accommodated to the extent of allowing the town to change her name to Helen. Nel, growing up with her mother's example, would eventually become the type of person her mother was, although she did regard her mother as overpowering when she was you (2111).

In contrast to Helene, the people of The Bottom, including Helene saw Sula's mother, Hannah, as "sooty" (2110). Hannah lived outside the status quo and did not conform to anyone's expectations but her own. Hannah's greatest influence on Sula would be in regards to sex. After Hannah's husband, Rekus, died just after Sula's birth, Hannah chose to live as her mother, Eva, did, a single woman who entertained assorted men as she pleased. Hannah had sex when, where, and with whom she pleased. She did not see sex as anything more than a moment's pleasure. Her constant sexual relations, mostly with the "husbands of her friends and neighbors," taught Sula that sex was nothing special, "pleasant and frequent but otherwise unremarkable." While Hannah was constantly having sex around her and she knew it, Sula actually only caught her mother in the act one time. Sula's reaction to this was not what one would expect. She had almost no reaction to it, except to understand that sex was just a part of life (2117-8).

While Helene and Hannah would influence who Nel and Sula would become as adults, both girls did initially rebel against their mothers as most children do. Nel and Sula's way of

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