Sula is a rich novel that talks about the lives of two black women, Nel and Sula. It highlights the women from their childhood together in Ohio, through their different styles of womanhood, and finally to their eventual conflict and settlement. Nel chooses to stay back in her place of birth, marry and make a family, so as to become a pillar of their black community which lived in great togetherness. Sula Peace is against all what Nel is doing. She goes to college, gets carried into city life, and when she comes back to her home, she is as a mocker, a rebel, and a reckless sexual immoral. Both the women suffer the cost of their choices. They must make a choice if they can be able to harbor the love for each other and both come together to create an remarkable representation of what it costs means and what it means to exist and survive as a black woman in America (Morrison, 1973).
This novel has a theme of feminism. It can be seen I the Sula’s revolt against a traditional womanhood characterized by motherhood and dependence to the family. Expressive research was used in the interpretation and analysis of the problem. The feminism approach was used greatly to present the point of view of a black female writer about what a black female goes through. Sociological approach dwelt with the setting of the novel while the formalist approach was used to display the artistry of the novel Sula. The psychosomatic approach was responsible for social and individual patterns that come about because of the female and feminist perception. Broad library research was done to illuminate and support the points raised in the study (Morrison, 1973).
The novel presents Sula as a person who displays a feminist principle that rise up against the patriarchal norms of sexuality, domesticity, obedience and nurturance. In the black woman experience, the revolt is against these normal happenings and the slave realization of motherly sacrifice and dependence to the family. The expression of the black woman voice is a feature of Toni Morrison’s novel. Through her black woman characters, Morrison represents the combined experience of black females in America as twisted by the past incident of slavery and by the American society which was patriarchal capitalist. Patriarchy in America started back during the colonial period when men power and women compliance was basic to the survival economy and to the social set up (www.questia.com).
The traditional society treated men as superior to women and gave them too little and indirect admission to power in the society. During the early stages of industrialization in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, women and men became segregated. Men dominated business and politics while women, given a limited space for power and influence, mainly concentrated on domestic concerns. However, this segregation prompted them to form groups in the attempt to find a universal identity.
In the Mid-nineteenth century, the interruption of the faction of domesticity that restricted the women to maternal chores and total self-sacrifice occurred. Only a few women at this time were able to expand their field which self affirmation was later to provide the origins of feminist. The incidence of slavery affected the Negros in the following ways; breakdown of the family as a result of the father’s absence which brought about matriarchy, the slave perception of compliance, and a modern trend called the cult of scarcity.
Sula’s behaviors and most of her qualities is a direct result of her childhood in the bottom. Sula’s personality describes many elements of a strong, autonomous feminist character. However, Medallion people did not view Sula positively. When she returned to Medallion as an adult, Sula is seen as an evil and treated with fear. The reason why Sula was an outcast to the community is mainly because of the fact that she was a woman who refused to observe the social norms set up for the community. Sula refused to marry and repeatedly slept around. When Sula’s father died, her mother Hanna started sleeping with married men. This, according to the society was not evil. Hannah was doing this just for pleasure. This affected Sula’s view on sex; she viewed sex as a source of pleasure. This according to the community was very bad because she refused to have a patriarchal relationship as her mother did (www.questia.com).
One time there was a rumor that she slept with a white man. This was totally against the community’s traditions. It was acceptable for black men to sleep with white women but when it was a case of a black woman sleeping with a white man, it was unthinkable. The whole community thought that Sula was indeed evil. Sula had no signs of vulnerability. She was very different from other people from the town; she did things that were never done before. The community labeled her as strange and wicked. Ajax was attracted to Sula because she was different from others. He is the only character in the novel that sees Sula as strong female. He is the only man that Sula falls in love with for a short time. She had a relationship with him because he liked to talk to her. Their relationship was based on equality between them. Ajax was attracted to her because she was the only woman who knew that her life was her own. Sula’s negative attitude towards domestically was because it was patriarchal based. She hated the idea that a man would marry a woman and impregnate her so as to claim his strength. That was the reason she could not a conversation with these women in these relationships. This was because she could not lie (www.questia.com).
Sula is a new world black woman who had choice where other women had no choice. Sula was descried as dangerously female because she was daring, could not be contained in a house, she was disruptive and difficult to control. She spoke the unspeakable, the outlawed and was modern. Despite the limitations put on her by her family and community, she does not impose any limitations on herself. Her rebellion to follow the community norms makes her isolated from the same community. She left her home for ten years during which travels in many parts of the country and attends college. On her return, she does not maintain family house the way her grand mother and her mother did before. Sula’s sexual exploits does not lead her to shared domesticity, firm companionship or even monogamy.
Sula can be described as a great feminist in this novel. Almost everything she does is against the things the community had set and which she perceived as oppressing women (Morrison, 1973).