Sula by Toni Morrison Book Report

Excerpt from Book Report :


The main character of the novel, Sula, has always been in search of true love. She tried to seek compassion and love from many different sources, but every time had to face disappointment and failure. She had relationships and contacts with many people but the outcome was always unpleasant.

In her childhood she came close to Nel and eventually they both became best friends. The family background of both girls was different and contrasting yet they shared a strong bond and relationship. They were friends since childhood but the incident where Sula accidently killed Chicken Little (drowned in the river and the girls decided to keep quite) changed their whole lives. They started to get apart after this incident, as the differences in their personalities became visible and evident. Both of the friends took different decisions about their future lives. After ten years when Sula came back to Bottom, she had a bad reputation and was considered to be ill mannered by almost everyone. The relationship of Nel and Sula further worsened and deteriorated when Sula had an affair with the Nel's husband.

The second character which had impact on the life of Sula was of Hannah, who was the mother of Sula. She loved her but was unable to express her feelings to Sula. She had to earn the livings for the whole family and hence was busy in her own life and was not able to give time to Sula. Apart from this Eva, the grandmother of Sula, blamed her for the death of Hannah.

The third person from whom Sula tried to seek love was of Ajax. Sula had a strong and serious attachment with Ajax. Sula was very much serious about the relationship and got strongly attached to him. She also started dreaming about getting married with him and spending whole life with him. But on the other hand Ajax was not serious about the relationship. And eventually he left Sula because he was not interested in long-term relationship. Apart from this he even concealed his true identity from Sula.

All these characters reflect important people in our lives, like the best friend, the mother, and the special person in the life. People always prefer friends on whom they can blindly trust and one should not hurt feelings of each other particularly feelings of a friend as it has a negative impact on their friendship. The mother has a vital role in the life of a child. She is the one who is responsible for the personality and character building of the child. One should give whole attention to the children. The childhood period has reflection on the youth. Finally, no one wishes for a guy who will not be interested in the serious and long-term relationship.

Death in My Life:

The author has presented two different scenarios of death in the novel. In one scenario the author has linked death with negativity and in the other scenario has linked death with positivity. The reader is confused how to react at certain death situations. The writer wants that the readers should understand the causes and reasons behind the different death scenarios and adjust their feelings and views regarding death according to the situations and characters associated with it.

The first death scenario narrated by the writer was of Chicken Little. He was a small black boy killed by Sula and Nel accidently. While playing, Sula lose the grip of his hand and he drowned in the river. The girls kept quiet about the whole situation only to get away from the punishment and penalty from the government, from the parents of the Chicken Little, and from the society of Bottom.

By narrating this scenario of death the writer wants to establish and register the fact among the readers that one should have high moral values and should not restrain oneself from telling the truth in any situation or condition. Apart from this another point which is evident from this scenario is that death can occur at any time. There is no age bound or limit for death so one should enjoy each and every moment of the life.

Another death scenario presented by the writer is of Pulm, the dearest child of Eva. She loved him the most among all her children, but still she killed him and burnt him alive. The author of the novel has justified the action of Eva and presented her as a mother who cannot see her son in distress and in pain. Pulm was addicted to drugs and was involved in wrong practices. She wanted him to die like a man, and for this reason used kerosene to burn him alive.

With the help of this scenario the writer had tried to convey the point that it is acceptable to indulge in such actions for the betterment and benefit of someone. The writer has portrayed positive image of the mother and has tried to maintain the fact that one should trust mother and should be close to her and should accept all her decisions gracefully. A mother would never intend to hurt her own child in any possible way. The level of love of the mother is boundary less and can force the mother to do anything for the betterment of the child.

Was Sula guilty of Chicken Little's Death?

Chicken Little was a black boy who lived in the neighborhood. Sula and Nel had friendly terms with him. One day three of them were playing in the fields. Sula was holding his hands and was swinging in the wide open air to have fun. Accidently, Sula lost grip and Chicken Little felt into the river and drowned. The whole incident happened in the flick of seconds and gave no time to Sula to think what had happened. Both girls watched the whole scene with astonishment and were reluctant to inform anyone. This incident ruined the whole childhood of Sula and Nel.

Sula was the main reason and cause behind the death of the Chicken Little. Sula let go of his hands and because of her, Chicken Little drowned. Sula was sorry for his death but was not guilty at all. She was upset at the funeral but did not consider herself as a murderer and was not guilty.

Nel is indirectly involved in the whole scene. She did not inform any one about the incident and decided to keep quiet. But she felt guilty at the funeral of the Chicken Little. Nel was astonished and shocked to see the calmness of Sula at funeral although Sula was sad and regretted the loss, but was not guilty about the death of Chicken Little.

This also reflected the differences among the personalities of the Sula and Nel. This incident negatively influenced the friendship of Sula and Nel.

Reason why Girls did not tell what Happened

Sula and Nel decided to keep quiet about the whole incident in order to avoid punishment. Both of the girls were accountable for the death of the Chicken Little, as Sula let go of his hands and he drowned in the river while Nel stood watching the whole incident and kept her mouth shut. After realizing what has happened, Sula asked Nel that whether they should inform others or not. Nel advised her to go from there and keep this whole scenario as secret as they cannot bring Chicken Little back. Sula was also of the same view and they both silently went away.

The girls had their own reasons of keeping the secret about the death of the Chicken Little. Although they came from different family backgrounds, but society did not have pleasant and positive views regarding their families and they had poor reputation among the citizens of Bottom. The girls were of the view that if they reported the incident and told the truth they might have to face severe punishment and penalty and everyone would blame them for the death of Chicken Little. They already had several issues and problems. Apart from this, the case of the death of Chicken Little could have been taken to a different level by the society and they could have been accused for intentionally killing him. They could also have been blamed for bullying him which forced Little to take this dreadful step.

Apart from this the white men were also not interested in investigating the case and finding out the real culprits behind the death of the Chicken Little. They just recovered the body from the water and delivered it to his parents. This further motivated Sula and Nel to keep the secret with them.

Reason for Eva being upset by Hannah's questioning about her love for her children

Hannah and Eva shared a strong bonding and relationship with each other as mother and daughter. Both were facing problems in their lives and were struggling to survive in this cruel world. Hannah missed her mother's attention, love, playfulness, and spontaneity during the childhood…

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