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Definitions of Self in Community in Morrison’s Sula and Song of Solomon

Definitions of Self In Community in Sula and Song of Solomon

“In that place, where they tore the nightshade and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there once was a neighborhood” (Sula 1). Toni Morrison begins the novel Sula with these powerful words, describing more than a physical place, but a spiritual place where a community once stood. She begins with the destruction of the community, ultimately beginning at the end because her novel traces the history of this community. In Song of Solomon. Morrison takes the opposite path. She traces the history of self that ultimately ends in a type of destruction when Milkman leaps off the cliff. In both novels, however, she explores the tension between self and community and the sacrifices each demand from the other. Morrison’s characters are both empowered and restricted by the heavy sense of community that operates in her novels. In all of her novels the characters are pulled along by and enmeshed in the communities in which they live. In Sula and Song of Solomon the struggles of me community and me characters with in the framework of community are me driving force behind much of me novel. Both the characters and the larger communities are irrevocably changed throughout me course of the novels the as tension to define both individual and community surfaces.

From the opening lines of Sula which foreshadows me ultimate deem of me community, Morrison calls attention to me sense of community in the Bottom. In “Eruptions of Funk. Susan Willis says, “The opening line from Sula might as well have been me novel’s conclusion, so complete is the destructioni it describes. This is the community Morrison is writing to reclaim” (315)…

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Pessoni, Michele. “‘She was laughing at their God.’: Discovering the Goddess Within Sula.” African American Review 29 (1995): 439-451.

Rigney, Barbara Hill. The Voices of Toni Morrison. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1991.

Rubenstein, Roberta. “Pariahs and Community.” Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 126-1 58.

Smith, Valerie. “Song of Solomon: Continuities of Community.” Toni Morrison: Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K. A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 274-283.

Willis, Susan. “Eruptions of Funk: Historicizing Toni Morrison.” Toni Morrison : Critical Perspectives Past and Present. Ed. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and K.A. Appiah. New York: Amistad Press, Inc., 1993. 308-329.

Toni Morrison’s Sula – Unhealthy Relationship of Sula and Nel

The Unhealthy Relationship of Sula and Nel

Organisms in nature rely on one another for their well being. However, sometimes those organisms become greedy and decide to take in the relationship, instead of sharing with their symbiotic partner. Through this action, it takes on parasitic characteristics. In Toni Morrison’s work, Sula, Sula Peace and Nel Wright demonstrate how a symbiotic relationship goes awry. When one partner betrays the other, by taking instead of giving, the other partner suffers. Nel and Sula’s relationship suffers because Sula unfortunately takes actions that lead to partaking in a parasitic relationship where she begins to wither away. Nel refuses the parasitic lifestyle and relationship, which causes Sula to wither away. In the midst of her death, Sula finally realizes that she needs the symbiotic relationship with Nel to survive. The interactions between Sula and Nel began symbiotically; however, it develops into a parasitic one with the dependence of Sula on Nel.

The symbiotic nature between Sula and Nel began during their adolescent years. Sula depended upon Nel for sturdiness and comfort, while Nel preferred the unpredictable nature of her counterpart. They used the other’s lifestyle to compensate for their shortcomings by placing themselves in the other’s surroundings. When Sula visited Nel’s home, “Nel, who regarded the oppressive neatness with dread, felt comfortable in it, with Sula” (Morrison 29). In the same way, Sula found comfort within the walls of the Wright home. They took solace in each other’s presence. Each one finds comfort i…

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…r her. Betrayal of the symbiotic relationship led to the inevitable outcome of becoming a parasite. She made the decision, and had to live with the consequence. Death would be her final consequence.

Works Cited

Bulfinch, Tomas. Bulfinch’s Mythology. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1947.

Dudley, Ruth H. Partners in Nature. New York: Funk

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