Toni Morrison's Sula - The Fire Within Sula Essay

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The Fire Within Sula

Sula by Toni Morrison is a compelling novel about a unique, self-confident woman. As in many other books, each secondary character in the story serves as a vehicle to explain the main character. Hannah, Sula's mother, is dominated by the element of air; she is free spirited, frivolous and child-like. On the other hand, the element of fire is prevalent in Sula, who is impulsive, hot-tempered and passionate. Despite the differences between the two, Hannah's lifestyle intrigues and influences her daughter. The effect Hannah has on Sula is reflected in many of her daughter's perspectives and actions. As a result of the ubiquitous presence of fire within her, in contrast to her mother's blithe spirit, Sula
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By freely displaying her manner with men, Hannah "...taught Sula that sex was pleasant and frequent, but otherwise unremarkable." (44). Intrigued by her mother, Sula takes on a similar attitude towards men, but carries it to a higher degree. She also views the vast majority of men as mere sex objects, but due to the flames within her, Sula's relations with men lack the innocence Hannah always manages to maintain. Rather than showering her lovers with kindness, "Sula was trying them out and discarding them without any excuse the men would swallow." (115). The spite within Sula prevents her from feeling or showing any compassion towards almost all of her lovers. Although Sula inherits her mother's promiscuous behavior, she carries it out in a more reprehensible manner due to her nature. Lacking Hannah's desire to please, Sula does not camouflage her actions in any way. Thus, Sula adopts Hannah's amoral attitude towards men, and also adds a touch of malice to it.

As a result of their innate desire to sleep with multiple men, including those who are married, Hannah and Sula are both unable to maintain steadfast friendships with women. . "Hanna exasperated the women in town...(Hannah) seemed too unlike them, having no passion attacked to her relationships..." (44). The women in town resent Hannah because they consider her "a nasty woman" (44) and do not

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