"Sula" by Toni Morrison.

Essay by pink22katieUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2003

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Two Become One

In the book Sula by Toni Morrison, we explore the friendship of two young girls in the small town of Bottom. However, it is not their friendship that is so compelling but how they are such opposite in the way they relate to other people, to the world around them and toward each other. Theirs is a symbiotic relationship; one, without the other, will not suffice in its existence. Only the combination of both characters succeeds in constructing a solid identity for one another. Together they form a solid working unit.

Brought together through their family life, the two seemingly diametrically opposed girls find solace in one another. Nel is balanced and lucid, while Sula is wild and irrational. Before they met and when they are apart near the end, both characters are disheveled and morose. Nel and Sula only function successfully when they are together, and it is only at these times that they are happy.

Otherwise, Sula and Nel are both isolated by and vulnerable to the avarice of the people of Bottom. Throughout the book, based on their personalities, society judged Sula as "bad", while Nel is thought to be the paragon of goodness. As a result, both characters perceive these notions as the truth about themselves.

The personality disorders of Nel and Sula stem from their family upbringing during childhood. The contrast between Sula and Nel's upbringing is startling, and their sprits reflect this. The differences in the houses are evident in the physical structures themselves. Nel's house is always in order and well kept, whilst Sula's house is huge and rambling. Nel's household is bound by the social standards that define the traditional meaning of "family", but Sula's household is built on an unconventional family structure; She lives in a multigenerational...