Yin and Yang in "Sula" Essay

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"Sula"

Yin and Yang is an ancient Chinese philosophy that says everything in the world works through opposing energies and that everything has its counter part which balances the world out. This idea of counter parts also carries into literature as shown in the book Sula by Toni Morrison. According to social conventions the character Nel is the yang (positive character/good) and Sula is the yin (negative character/evil). This is the way both characters are viewed on sole terms of how they conform to society. Nel is shown to be a good character because she plays a socially expectable role as a women and mother, while Sula conforms to no social stereotypes and let's almost nothing hold her back, thus she is viewed as evil.
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She was raised in a stable, rigid home by a family that has always been careful to keep up a socially respectable persona and an immaculately clean house. Sula on the other hand is the complete opposite. Sula gives social reforms no mind and is in a sense a wild woman that can not be tamed. She defies social conventions by never marrying, leaving her hometown to get an education and having multiple affairs with white men. The home she grew up in was in a constant state of disarray supplied by a steady stream of borders, three informally adopted boys all of whom were renamed Dewey and a line of men waiting for her openly promiscuous mother.

Racism is an issue that is carried all throughout this book. The bottom community itself is established on a racist act and later the people become so as well. The racism that develops in the town may well be a survival tactic developed by the people over years but it still exists at the end of the novel. One example of racism in this book is Helene, Nel's mothers concern over her daughters physical characteristics. Helene sees being fair skinned as an advantage but also has the mentality that "had she been any lighter-skinned she would have needed either her mother's protection on the way to school or a streak of mean to defend herself"(52). She encourages her daughter to pull her nose so that it may become narrow and less like the stereotypical wide nose held by blacks. Just as she is racist Helene

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