Autobiographical references of Toni Morrison, and comments about her work “Sula”.
Autobiographical references of Toni Morrison, and comments about her work “Sula”.
Antônio Domingos Araúo Cunha
“Toni Morrison, is an American writer, whose works deal with the black experience and celebrate the black community.” 01 “She is the first black woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Chloe Anthony Wofford was born in February 18,
Once the author is presented, we need now, to have an approach to the book we want to focus by presenting some comments. Toni Morrison’s book “Sula”, provides the sensation that
the relations between the members of a family and neighborhood were prior to a historical perspective and consequences of the war in the world, which should define the theme. The differences of black people in the context of competition, opportunities, proper behavior, social position, and mainly their interests, concerning women’s expected conduct, by reading the comment of Library Journal, right at the beginning of the book that mentions: “This is an evocation of a whole black community during a span of over 40 years. Toni Morrison’s gifts are rare: the re-creation of the black experience in
Morrison uses the language of dreams to describe wonderful settings, where the personages take the emptiness of our minds, to imagine the details of a life style, and ideologies of those people toward to her ambitions, emotions, and perspectives. A good example can be the following passage: “[. . . ] See those hills? That’s bottom land, rich and fertile”(Morrison 05). It seems to be the
reports that this place is a metaphor for that innocence that finds out the time, unknown the opposites, and becomes the center point from where conscience perceives the changes”(
. They have the contemplative view of white people living close to
Sula and Nel’s grandma is so resigned to her position to be an old black woman, dying on her bed. And Hannah is also ironically illustrated by Morrison, who gave her a terrible end, providing us an idea that women’s position was not only dedication to domestic activities. Morrison describes men as humans that women should always consider twice. Women are considered like sisters all together in the community. Children are treated with love and care, and Sula emerges in the deepest of the conscience of their frustrations and aims. Her Mom asks her when she will get married and she answers: “[. . .] I don’t want to make somebody else. I want to make myself.” And her Mom replies: “[. . .] Selfish. Ain’t no woman got no business floatin’around without no man”(Morrison 92). It reveals Sula’s egocentrism.
It sounds that black women really have their men in consideration, and the conception of love, respect and fidelity are illustrated in the relationships of couples along the narrative. Sula’s personality is described as someone whose integrity is her greatest treasure. It is recognized that she explored her own thoughts and emotions, giving them full reign, feeling no obligation to please anybody unless their pleasure pleased her. To give and to receive the same. She thought there was no other she could count on, or there was no self to count on either. Sula conserves her integrity, but provokes reactions in people, and had no interest in money, property or any other material things. Women were afraid their husbands would discover that no uniqueness lay between their legs.
Sula wanted a Comrade. 05 Tony highlights her integrity as a person that knows who is who in her personal scale of values and attitudes. Her integrity as a person is demonstrated.
In the attempt to find very specific features in Tony’s book, we can point out some of them, like “beauty, war, abandonment, and love”06, which can be presented as allegorical signs (“...detail of the setting stands for something else: an abstract idea, a social, philosophical, or religious concept, a psychological state...” (Schechter 18)). There are some evidences of beauty as we can see in the following passage in the voice of Helen: “Don’t just sit there, honey. You could be pulling your nose” (Morrison 28). Another one:
“[Nel] got out of bed and lit the lamp to look in the mirror. There was her face, plain brown eyes, three braids and the nose her mother hated. She looked for a long time and suddenly a shiver ran through her. We also can notice, this passage: “While you sitting there, honey, go head and pull your nose. It hurts, Mamma.” “Don’t you want a nice nose when you grow up?”(Morrison 55).
If we consider abandonment, we’d rather check this passage:
“[. . .] After five years of a sad and disgruntled marriage Boy-Boy took off. During the time they were together, he was very much preoccupied with other women and not home much. He did whatever he could that he liked, and he liked womanizing
best, drinking second, and abusing Eva third. When he left in November, Eva had $1.65, five eggs, three beets and no idea of what or how to feel. The children
needed her; she needed money, and needed to get on with her life”(Morrison 32).
More evidence of abandonment can be seen in the narrative. Another aspect to explore, is the civil war. This passage demonstrates the displacement for this setting.
The displacement of time can be well observed as far as we notice the years right in front of each chapter wich are: 1919,1920,1921,1922,1923,1927,1937,1939,1940,1941, and 1965.
It sets in the rite of passage, (considering Sula as the center of the narrative), till she dies, like a witch, someone who had no other choice besides the death.
“[ . . .] The death of Sula Peace was the best news folks up in the Bottom had had since the promise of work at the tunnel. Of the few who were not afraid to witness the burial of a witch and who had gone to the cemetery, some had come just to verify her being put away...”(Morrison 150).
The most interesting passages are those in which Morrison has taken care to describe the settings. She goes through very specific details, and such descriptions clarify the way of living of black people, considering differences and similarities. A point of view can be established by the sensation Morrison transfers to the other personages, the responsibility to say something about Sula. They pass their judgments to Sula. “[. . .] Their conviction of Sula’s evil changed them in accountable yet mysterious way”(Morrison 117). They also judge her sexual relations, supposing she goes to bed with white men (Morrison 112).
The Creole language is also very significant, whenever listening to the voices of Toni’s narrative. She mentions
Her speech is never reporting “I”, or “we”. She narrates as someone who knows the facts, and like a storyteller, she never runs to personal interpretations. As it was said in Friedman’s book, Form and Meaning in fiction, “[. . .] A writer can use an objective point of view, and use it consistently, and still not produce a successful work: or he can shift around, and still produce an effective work.” That’s the point Morrison explored. She did (Friedman163). Toni Morrison’s book gave the sensation that the relations between the members of a family, and neighborhood, was prior to her interests right at the beginning of the book, and the differences of black people in the context of competition, opportunities, expected behavior, social position, and mainly their interests about women’s expected conduct.
Sula and Nel’s grandma seems so redeemed to her position to be an old black woman, dying on her bed. And Hannah, their mother had a terrible end, providing us an idea that women’s position was not farther than dying in domestic activities. Nel is the one who lives longer, like a common citizen. Remaining close to her roots she’s married, raised a family, and became a pillar of the black community.
The conception of love, respect and fidelity are illustrated in the relationships of couples along the narrative. Sula’s personality is described as someone who really has her integrity as her greatest treasure. “...lonely is mine”(Morrison 143).
So, by analyzing this book, one can notice the necessity to confirm a different identity, which is not passive and resigned to conventional feminine values. It is recognized that Sula Peace explored her own thoughts and emotions, giving them full reign, feeling no obligation to please anybody unless their pleasure pleased her, the symbol of women’s freedom is so far designed. Sula, an archetype of contradiction is the one to invert women’s status in
01 "Morrison, Toni". Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2002 http://encarta.msn.com (11 June. 2002) © 2002
Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
02 Contributed by Danuta Bois 1. Toni Morrison by Douglas Century, Chelsea House Publishers, 1994
03 Contributed By: Margaret Reid, A.B., M.A., and Ph.D Assistant Professor of English,
Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2002 http://encarta.msn.com (11 June 2002) © 2002 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
04 Contributed By: Paula S. Fass, A.B., M.A., Ph.D.
Professor of History and Chancellor’s Professor,
The Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920s and Outside In: Minorities and the Transformation of American
June. 2002) © 2002 Microsoft Corporation.
05 Morrison,Toni. Sula, (Plume Book) 1982.
Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers. (Palas Athena, 1990).
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers,
Modern Language Association, 1988.
Morrison,Toni. Sula, (Plume Book) 1982.
Morrison, Toni. June 11, 2002. http://www.netsrq.com/~dbois/morrison.html.
Morrison, Toni. June 11, 2002.http://www.pleiades-net.com/choice/books/S.1.html.
Morrison, Toni. June 11, 2002.http://encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp?ti=06327000.
Morrison, Toni. June 11, 2002.http://www.az.com/~andrade/morrison/sula.html.
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