October 28, 2014
Throughout Toni Morrison’s Sula, racism and sexism are recurring themes that are deeply explored and illuminated throughout the novel. The novels’ two main characters Nell and Sula are not only women living in a patriarchal world, they are also African American, which further exposes them to mistreatment and pre-determined societal roles. African Americans during the 1920’s were experiencing great social injustices and mistreatment, along with the likes of women who were also experiencing inequality to a lesser degree during this time as well. In her novel Sula, by addressing and shedding light on the many acts of racism and sexism that occurred during the 1920’s, Toni Morrison shows how African …show more content…
For Sula, her pre-determined role in society urged her to push back and live a life that belongs to her and her only.
Morrison uses Sula’s character to show how being an African American women was often a tremendous hardship felt by no else other than these women. During this time in the early 1920’s there was a growing divide in the feminist community about women and their roles in society. There were the women who conformed to societal norms and lived solely for their husband and household, and there were women who struggled for their own independence and choice, free from the bounds of society. While Nell chooses the traditional path of staying at home, getting married, and having kids, Sula does the opposite and chooses to move away, stay single, and sleep with numerous men. Because of her actions when she returns to her community she is seen as a pariah and is ridiculed by everyone. When the community sees a female acting differently than society tells them, the community immediately attacks and draws assumptions. The community becomes outraged that Sula is sleeping with white men, and when Sula is caught in the affair with Jude, the blame is placed solely on Sula, the female. By receiving the whole blame for Nell’s broken marriage, the author is reflecting how women were very frequently held to different standards as men. Clearly the affair between Jude and Sula was consensual, but because Sula was an African American