Speaking more literally, water is used in the novel to symbolize the border between the sexuality and the experience of death around. First of all, the main character of Sula was taken by Morrison to directly outline the link between the heroine and water. The question is that sula is a sea bird. Thus, water is inseparable for Sula of the novel. Along with the place they lived in (Bottom), the whole story underlines the bottom of heaven where Sula and Nel were placed for living together. The black people living in Medallion tend to justify what everything was all about along with “what that little girl Sula who grew into a woman in their town was all about, and what they themselves were all about, tucked up there in the Bottom” (Morrison 6). It is a mystery for the main character why their philosophy of living is trite by the majority. Conversely, Sula’s own feelings seek to be evident as long as she feels love, passion, and responsibility for her neighbors deep within her heart. To say more, the theme of budding sexuality in keeping with the best traditions of the Modernism in literature is explored through the symbol of water. Sula and Nel are interwoven into a play they once started in their childhood and continue, though Nel is married to Jude. The sexual intercourse between Sula and Jude is a manifestation of their wetness and soft nature of the water itself. However, it is vital to turn back in earlier times when Nel and Sula were playing with their holes. One episode is peculiar when they stand together “gazing out over the swift dull water as an unspeakable restlessness and agitation held them” (Morrison 59). It is an intimate dimension of their lives. Water seems to keep Nel and Sula’s feelings in secret until the moment comes. Water is taken in the novel to describe Sula’s personal shelter from the eyes of the surrounding people likely to blame her. In fact, the river setting is a symbol of people falling in oblivion once the death has come in their lives. At several points water is a symbol of death (Davis 91). The most applicable examples when it is treated like that are the death of Chicken Little and Sula herself. Here comes a contradiction between themes of sexuality leading to birth and oblivion characterizing death. Here, Morrison exemplified the struggle of African Americans: “Water that should cleanse and purify instead leads to a clogging of human emotions, a beaver’s dam on the souls of the two girls” (Bloom 130). Thus, sexuality symbolized by means of water is intersected by the images of death incorporated in the smoothness of water. Toni Morrison draws upon the symbolic meaning of water trying to amplify the hardships African Americans experience in Medallion. In this respect one of the places in the book reads as follows: “With the first crack and whoosh of water, the clamber to get out was so fierce that others who were trying to help were pulled to their deaths” (Morrison 162). Thereupon, water is classified in the imaginary world created by Morrison as both the beginning and the end for all those inhabitants living in the Bottom. Thus, Sula’s tears and her weeping at different places in the book provide a reader with the feeling of sorrow. Nevertheless, the other side of the story is that Sula seeks to find out her niche under the sun, even though the water reminds her of the
Sula by Toni Morrison is a novel full of different characterizations and symbols incorporated by the author in an accurate depiction of social as well as cultural misconception. In this respect the symbol of water was taken by Morrison for a reason. In other words, she tried to embody a particular meaning into the use of water overtly encountered throughout reading the text…
Morrison is a master at developing these symbols Throughout the novel, the musical form of jazz itself is an important symbol. It stands in for the improvisational quality of African American experience during this period. Life, Morrison shows, is chaotic and does not always make immediate sense.
Introduction Toni Morrison is one of the most illustrious African-American authors. She "has become a unique literary figure of 20th Century, and the pieces of her writing have become indispensable interpretation in the genre of modern American fiction" (Random House 1).
As you read along, an understanding about the book and its relevance to the real world, aside from the fact that it’s based on the true story of an African-American slave, Margaret Garner, will be achieved. The Pulitzer Prize-winner Beloved is written in bits and pieces and left for the reader to put together.
Then the story introduces the character of Nel’s mother, Helene Sabat, and her grandmother, Cecile. The story progresses and develops how Nel and Sula are different in terms of family background and personal characteristics. Nel herself belongs to a respectable family; however, Sula’s mother is known for having casual relationships with a number of different men, and Sula does not like it.
In some instances the past is narrated with the use of flashbacks , use of stories, or on some instances it is narrated plainly, giving the impression that events are taking place in the present. The story of the novel is generally told in fragments, and pieces that have been shattered.
In that era of slavery, slave owners could pursue slaves across state borders, and when a posse came to retrieve Margaret and her children, she decided it was better to kill her daughter than let her go into suffering. In the novel, Sethe succeeds in killing her daughter as Margaret did, and attempts to execute her three other children when their posse arrives to take them back to Sweet Home, where she had fled.
In Sula, Morrison locates her characters in an isolated black neighbourhood; it is called 'the Bottom' and situated in the middle of the United States in the imaginary town of Medallion, Ohio, which is located on the axis between the history of slavery and that of abolition in the United States, or freedom in Canada.
Events that befall the denizens of the Bottom, a segregated community of mythical Medallion, Ohio, can be seen as those that might befall residents of any Black community in any town during the years of this narrative, 1919 to 1965 (Claudia Tate, 1983, 128).
Toni Morrison's Sula is one of her masterpieces and a work that turned her into one of the most powerful African-American writers of our times. What strikes the readers about Toni Morrison's protagonist in Sula is her non-conformist, new age consciousness that turns her into an evil figure and an unsuitable heroine.
Morrison shows through her writings that the natural world is connected with our lives and our communities in some way or the other. This suggests that some people find others so worthless that they can uproot an entire community and their houses, infrastructure, and living just to create a means of their recreation.
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