"Sula" by Toni Morrison - Analysis and Explanation of opposition use.

Essay by madcowminzHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 2006

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Toni Morrison's novel "Sula" bases itself on ambiguity, questioning the definitions of "good" and "evil", and how closely the two resemble one another. The novel attempts to scrutinize the complexity of human emotions and relationships, exploring ways to make meaning of lives filled with such idiosyncratic conflicts of race and gender. In the context of Sula, "good" and "evil" are shown to be concepts too simplistic to apply to life - nothing is wholly one or the other.

Sula and Nel, though growing up in contrasting backgrounds, become best friends. Nel grew up in a conventional home, raised by parents devoted to being accepted into society. Despite her mothers wishes to raise an acceptable daughter, Nel becomes uncertain of the conventional life predestined to her when she meets her grandmother and former prostitute, Rochelle. Sula was raised by her grandmother Eva and her mother Hannah, both of whom are known for their reputations of being "loose".

Seperated by Nel's marriage to Jude, the girls are reunited ten years later in a heated argument over Sula sleeping with Nel's husband.

Sula is known in the Bottom as evil, and Nel thinks of herself as the "good" half. Morrison expresses the need for a kind of balance between forces in "Sula". For example, Sula and Nel and their family situations are quite different; yet, they are, in some sense, attracted to one another. They are two halves of a whole. The conforming Nel searches for a sense of order in her life (EX: she marries Jude at a young age), which in the end seems to fail in giving her a happy life. Sula, on the other hand, opposes the conventions of society and ends her life rather satisfied. It is true that she is criticized for her...