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a b c McDowell, Deborah E. "Boundaries: Or Distant Relations and Close Kin", in Houston A. Baker and Patricia Redmond (eds), Afro-American Literary Study in the 1990s, Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

If you can be named for something you’re not, for somebody other than yourself, are you real, are you truly yourself? If your name can dissolve and recombine into another name, who are you anyway? Sula exemplifies the above perfectly when she has an affair with Jude, the husband of Nel, and finds nothing wrong with her act. Sula is distraught when Jude breaks up with Nel, and his life crumbles, making her feel like a regular wife. Losing Jude triggers a major identity crisis for Nel and creates a distortion of the comfortable conditioned self. When she loses him, she goes through a period of intense mourning that threatens to rip her sense of self apart. While seated on the shower floor, Nel works through her despair by imagining a sequence of areas where life meets the abject: In completing the loop of [a] circle of sorrow, and by emphasizing the plurality of the circles of sorrow, Morrison throws into relief the fact that Sula is metanarrative, a story about stories. These include all of the stories contained within the text of Sula, and as I will argue, a set of foundational texts upon which Sula is written in a kind of postmodern palimpsest” (116). This ball appears to Nel, or would have appeared had she allowed herself to look at it. After the appearance of the gray ball, Nel finds she cannot allow herself to let out her personal howl of pain following the loss of Jude and her marriage. She feels the howl coming but it will not come. When she stands up, she believes that it is hovering just to the right of her in the air, just out of view.

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A few years later, Sula is dying, and Nel briefly visits her. When Sula finally dies, she mystically remains conscious: She is outside of her body looking down at it. She realizes that death is painless, something she must tell Nel. Eva’s daughter Hannah does not have the same interpretation of the events as her mother. Hannah does not understand her mother’s actions as loving and asks Eva if she ever loved them. Eva does not understand what Hannah means by the question and responds with anger. Eva believes that her sacrifice speaks for itself and that she does not need to justify her love for her children. Nonetheless, Hannah clearly is uncertain about her mother’s feelings. Matza, Diane. “Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Toni Morrison’s Sula: A Comparison.” MELUS 12 (Fall 1985): 43-54. After he leaves, Eva realizes that she will always hate Boy Boy and that this hatred will be her obsession in this life. At this point, Eva also begins to retreat into her bedroom and to live a reclusive life. Sula’s apparent apathy despite witnessing Hannah hurt reflects the absence of affection she had from her mother. At some point, it appears that the death of the mother compromises the individual’s sense of identity. On the contrary, the mother is an individual who recognizes the kid, not just an object that the kid can see. Therefore, it can be argued that the awareness of oneself as an individual beneath the caring watch of the mother is a vital element in the formation of the self. Sula becomes an individual with shattered subjectivity as a result of not receiving this attention as a child, and his apathetic behaviors cause greater suffering to society.

At its core, Sula is the story of two friends, Sula Peace and Nel Wright. The girls come from two completely different homes. Sula Peace is the daughter of Hannah Peace and the granddaughter of Eva Peace. Sula’s grandfather, Boy Boy, abandons the family when her mother is a small child, and Sula’s father dies when Sula is young. As a result, Sula lives in a house dominated by women. From her observations of these women, Sula experiences life as a chaotic mix of different people in a house that has a random and eccentric design, one that mirrors the lifestyle of its inhabitants. As a result of her environment, Sula becomes a bold person, but she is uncertain about whether she is loved and about how to express affection for others. Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. 1979. Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.although i do have to say, her overreliance on the word "beautiful" as a descriptor for men and boys is grating. eeeevery man is beautiful, which is statistically improbable, and it's also lazy wordsmithing in someone who has proven herself to be much better than that. Main Claim:“ Sula’s attentiveness to violence is expressed in terms of its abiding interest in death…one would be hard-pressed…to find a novel in which death figures more prominently…Dead not only structures the narrative but also governs it, determines the elaboration of character and event. Dead presides. And Sula endlessly presides over death” (185). Not until long after Sula dies does Nel realize that it is not Jude she has been mourning all those years. It was her friend Sula. Unlike Sula, Nel is an example of a woman overly dependent on others, namely, a man, for her own satisfaction. She is representative of the woman who marries early, never leaves her home town, and never truly discovers her own wants, needs, ideas, and feelings. Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth. “Between Individualism and Fragmentation: American Culture and the New Literary Studies of Race and Gender.” American Quarterly 42, 1 (March 1990): 7-34. After Nel regains her composure and resumes her daily routine, she is left with “nothing but a flake of something dry and horrible in her throat” (Morrison, 1998, p. 108). Nonetheless, she becomes aware that Something is following her everywhere she goes: “Something was just to her right, in the air, just out of sight. She could not see it, yet she was well aware of its appearance. A greyish ball hovers nearby. Simply there. To the left. Quiet, dingy, and filthy. A ball of muddy threads that is devoid of weight, fluffy yet malevolent in its malice “(Morrison, 1998, p. 109).

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