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Friendship in Sula Essay

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I'm sure you have not only heard, but also used the famous phrase "opposites attract." The statement stands true not only in physics and chemistry, but also in relationships and friendships. We tend to be attracted to people with personalities that differ from ours, so life would be more interesting, and desire the opposite of what we have. A perfect example of this, is Sula and Nel, best friends from Toni Morrison's novel, "Sula", where the conventional ideas of good and evil are turned upside down. The two girls are like opposite sides of a magnet, strongly attracted toward one another and useless when split apart. Life puts their friendship to the test by toying with love and sex, life and death, and good and evil, eventually breaking the strong bond of their friendship apart.

Sula and Nel's friendship can be thought of as a magnet, Sula, being the negative end; Nel the positive. When Sula and Nel become friends, they produce a perfect combination, being perfect complements of one another. They both grow up in completely different households and encounter different upbringings. Nel's mother, Helene, does what she could to drive "her daughter's imagination underground" (Morrison 18), raising her to be polite and obedient. Nel grows up to be a calm and well behaved girl who has no choice but to follow her mother's every wish. Sula, on the other hand, grows up in an opposite environment which is seen as a highly negative one by most people: "Wooly house, where a pot of something was always cooking on the stove; where the mother, Hannah, never scolded or gave directions; where all sorts of people dropped in; where newspapers were stacked in the hallway, and dirty dishes left for hours at a time in the sink, and where a...


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...them into better people, at least for a short while. While Sula was alive, wives were taking care of their husbands more, mothers of their children, and children of their elderly parents. When Sula dies, Morrison writes, "the tension was gone and so was the reason for the effort they had made." (153) Everyone goes back to being selfish and unloving, as they were before. Perhaps having people like Sula in a community should be considered a necessary evil it if motivates people to do good.

Everything in this world has a balance. Without negative, there is no positive and without Sula, there is not Nel. Their friendship is strong and they are one when together, and become nothing when broken apart. Nel turns into a dull housewife, living the life of her mother, and Sula dies alone without anyone who truly loves her by her side.

"Sula" By Toni Morrison



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