English / The Society Sula Escaped
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Autor: anton 29 November 2010
Words: 628 | Pages: 3
The reader has already met Sula in a sense by understanding the dynamics within the hills above the town of Medallion, Ohio. The black community in which she grew up is ironically called the Bottom, and has an array of different personalities and family structures that are continually influencing who Sula becomes as well as defining her values in society.
Before meeting Sula, the reader meets her grandmother, Eva. Eva is a strong minded woman with three children who does whatever it takes to get by. When her husband BoyBoy abandons her, she is forced to beg for food from the neighbors to survive. When things become too much for her, she leaves her children with a neighbor and disappears for eighteen months. When she returns, Eva is missing a leg and has somehow acquired wealth. The town speculates that Eva likely put her leg under a train in order to collect insurance money.
Eva loved all of her children very much, but when her favorite child, Plum returns home from the war with a heroine addiction, she is heartbroken to see him plummeting into that kind of life. One night she goes into his bedroom and poured kerosene over him and burned him to death. In Evaâ€™s eyes, she did him a favor and she no longer has to watch him fall into the wrong path.
Sulaâ€™s mother, Hannah has a reputation much like Evaâ€™s. She has frequent affairs with many men and can often be unpredictable. This is the nature of Sulaâ€™s home, bustling with activity and always full of change. It has a very different and untraditional family structure with two abandoned women in charge of a chaos of children.
On the other spectrum would be Sulaâ€™s childhood best friend, Nel. While Sula is spontaneous and aggressive, Nel is quiet and unassuming. Sula never hesitated to defend them when bullies would try to tease or hurt them on their walks home, and even went so far as to drown a boy that got in their way. Nelâ€™s home is the very opposite to that of Sulaâ€™s. She came from a traditional family in a home that was repressive and never changing.
Sula disappears from the town she grew up in and returns ten years later in stylish and expensive clothing, unmarried and with a college education. She begins visiting Nel, who like her mother, married young and has children. Sula does the unthinkable and has an affair with Nelâ€™s husband, Jude. Sula and Nel no longer have anything in common as their lives have led them down separate and very different paths and Sula has betrayed her best friend.
After they donâ€™t speak for three years, Nel finally breaks the silence while Sula is growing very ill. They talk of their very different lives and Sula denies Nelâ€™s assertion that black women canâ€™t afford to be alone and independent. She declares that every woman she knows is slowly dying.
This novel has many elements that trace to overcoming ones environment and creating independence and belief in whatâ€™s right and wrong. Sula and Nel are mirror images of each other and therefore highlight their contrasts. The reader is able to see the outcomes of the roads taken and lives lived. This novel displays a feministic quality in that women can be independent and do not have to be burdened with husbands and children and barely making it. Sula witnessed this lifestyle in her mother and grandmother and chose not to repeat the cycle. In a way, it was the society that showed Sula from childhood what not to be and taught her that she could live a happier life by defying the standards of society and the choices women have continued to make generations before her.
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