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Literary Analysis Essay On Sula

Sula: Character Analysis Of Nel Essay

458 Words2 Pages

The novel Sula, is a work which contrasts the lives of its two main characters Nel and Sula. They appear, on the surface, to be the epidemy of binary opposites but this is in actuality their underlying bond. The differences in their personalities complement one another in a way that forges an almost unbreakable alliance. Sula is compulsive and uncontrollable while her counterpart, Nel, is sensible and principled. To prove Nel human by subscribing to the theory that a human is one who possess both good and bad traits, one must only look at how she interacts with Sula, here both negative and positive traits are evident.Nel’s "good" traits obviously come to the forefront when looking at her character. One might say this is a result…show more content…

Nel’s mother Helene played a large role in establishing her positive attitude and calm demeanor. "Under Helene’s hand the girl became obedient and polite. Any enthusiasms that little Nel showed were calmed by the mother until she drove her daughter’s imagination underground."(Page 18) Although this would seem lead to an extremely sad existence, it was exactly this kind of environment that lead to Nel’s calm and reasonable disposition.Nel’s "bad" traits are as well hidden as her "good traits are evident. If there were one action in particular that might blemish the otherwise flawless character of Nel it would be her selfish behavior.

This behavior is seen when Nel attempts to recreate the relationship that she and Sula share with someone else, instead of maintaining her relationship with Sula. Now instead of Nel and Sula joined to make one person, Nel and Jude "together would make one Jude." (Page 83) Another of Nel’s negative qualities was how dependent she was on what other thought of her. The only reason Nel ended her relationship with Sula was because she felt she needed to be "needed by someone who saw her singly." (Page 84). Initially this statement appears to state that Nel wishes to become more of an individual, when in actuality it is only further proof that she is completely dependent on what others think of her.Nel’s want to be an individual while still

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Critical Literary Analysis of Sula

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Critical Literary Analysis The novel that I read is called “Sula” written by Toni Morrison. This novel is about the lives of two women named Sula Peace, and Nel Wright. They became friends while living in the black community called “The Bottom” outside of Medallion, Ohio. They go through many obstacles together throughout the novel. We get to see them grow from young girls, to adults. Sula is told in the third person (omniscient). Therefore, the narrator is able to let us in on the inner thoughts of nearly every character in the novel.

This helps readers reverse judgement since the narrator doesn’t judge the characters either. There are a lot of themes within the novel “Sula”. One of them that stood out the most to me was betrayal. The theme of betrayal caught my attention, because it was something that I could relate to. I have been betrayed a few times by people close to me, so it wasn’t really hard for me to relate to how Nel felt. I believe this theme would be relatable to any reader who reads this novel.

Relating to themes and characters in novels is so important, because the purpose is for we, as the readers to relate to them feeling very engaged in reading the novel. Betrayal lead to the separation of the close relationship between Nel and Sula. Jude, Nel’s husband had liked both Sula and Nel when they were all younger. Sula left town to pursue an education, and Jude settled for marrying Nel. Together, Sula and Jude betrayed Nel by sleeping together, but Sula’s betrayal hurt Nel the most. Sula was confused.

They had always shared men; they were best friends who shared everything. Sula did not understand why she could not share Nel’s husband as well. The reason for Sula’s actions is her mother, Hannah. Hannah’s influence on Sula remains constant and profound throughout the novel. By sleeping with her friends’ husbands, Hannah teaches Sula to regard sex as “pleasant and frequent, but otherwise unremarkable” (1921. 40). Hannah seems quite happy without a husband, and we see that she doesn’t seem concerned with being a good mother to Sula either.

She tells her friends that she loves her daughter but doesn’t like her. What I found surprising was that Sula watched her mother die in a fire, but we never hear of any grief on Sula’s part. That shows that Sula was not too fond of her mother either. In 1940, Sula becomes ill. Nel goes to see her after hearing that Sula was very ill. Having no money, Sula asked Nel to get her painkillers. They had an argument about Sula being in the house by herself, without a husband, and her inability to stay with one person. Nel also confronted Sula about her seduction of Jude.

Nel was upset with the fact that Sula was not willing to accept any responsibility of what she had done. Nel finally decided to leave and told Sula that she would not be visiting her again. When Nel leaves she says, “Goodbye, Sula. I don’t reckon I’ll be back” (146). After Nel left the house, Sula dies. Sula ends with a message about how the lack or unwillingness to give compassion and forgiveness can have a lasting effect on a person. When Nel visits Sula’s grave, she experiences true compassion for her friend.

At the end of the novel, Nel finally realizes that it wasn’t Jude’s absence that she had been so sad about all these years. It was her best friend, Sula. When Nel realizes this, it is too late. Sula is gone now, and now Nel cannot get a chance to tell Sula that she forgives her for what she has done to her. It is not always easy to forgive someone, especially under certain circumstances. forgiveness doesn’t mean that we are approving, accepting, or condoning what someone else did. What I have learned from this novel is that, the inability to forgive someone can lead to regret.

I learned that you never know when you will lose someone in your life. Therefore, this novel has made it easier for me to forgive, unconditionally. Forgiveness is needed to put the past into the past, and to remove yourself from a frame of mind that holds you back. Only forgiveness sets you free of another person’s wrong actions. I would definitely recommend this novel to other people, because it was a very well written book. It was fairly easy to understand. I didn’t have a hard time reading the novel. It was a great story, and people can definitely learn from this novel.

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I obviously learned a couple of lessons from this novel, and it helped change my view on forgiveness. The themes and characters in this novel were very relatable, and that is what kept me entertained and interested throughout the novel. I think I would read another book by Toni Morrison. She is known for their great themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters, and that obviously showed in the novel, “Sula”. I believe she is a great author, and has an immensely great creative mind. I can honestly say that I did not regret reading that novel at all.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in Sula

Critical Literary Analysis of Sula

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