Toni Morrison’s Sula: 4/10/08

Sula by Toni Morrison

We all agreed that the book is full of disturbing episodes, but disagreed about their meaning. Is it a story of allegorical characters struggling with poverty and oppression or a tale of neglect and mental illness? Is Sula the embodiment of evil or an artist without a medium, a force of nature? Is Morrison’s vivid writing enough to carry the reader through this difficult story about love, friendship, gender, race and identity?

Morrison maven JW contends that Sula is not Morrison’s best work. She recommends Love and Song of Solomon (and the new PBS American Masters program on Zora Neale Hurston).

On Sula’s deathbed:
“I know what every colored woman in this country is doing.”
“What’s that?”
“Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I’m going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world.”
“Really? What have you got to show for it?”
“Show? To who? Girl, I got my mind. And what goes in it. Which is to say, I got me.”
“Lonely, ain’t it?”
“Yes. But my lonely is mine. Now your lonely is somebody else’s. Made by somebody else and handed to you. Ain’t that something? A secondhand lonely.”

Author Biography from Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison University of Minnesota’s Morrison page

More about Morrison & Sula
  • For more articles on Morrison and her books, try Infotrac Onefile, available at the library, or from home (with a Minuteman Library Network card).