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Essay on Good and Evil in Toni Morrison

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Morrison has said, "I can easily project into other people's circumstances and imagine how I might feel if...I don't have to have done this things. So that if I'm writing of what I disapprove of, I can suspend that feeling and love those characters a lot. You know, sort of get inside the character because I sort of wonder what it would be like to be this person..." Both her novels, The Bluest Eye and Sula, speak to this statement.

There are a few characters in The Bluest Eye in which Morrison takes away a negative connotation from their actions. In the Afterwords, she writes, .".., I mounted a series of rejections, some routine, some exceptional, some monstrous, all the while trying hard to avoid complicity in the demonization process Pecola was subjected to. That is, I did not want to dehumanize the characters who trashed Pecola and contributed to her collapse" (211).

Cholly Breedlove is Pecola's and Sammy's father, Pauline husband, and a drunk. Even though the reader learns of his terrible temper, his abusing his wife, and the subsequent rapes of Pecola, and his abandonment of his family, the reader still has an inkling of sympathy for him. This sympathy may stem from Morrison's depiction of his childhood.

We don't meet the vulnerable Cholly at the opening of the book. What we first learn about him is that he burned down his house, and that he abuses his wife. Through Pauline's reflections, we learn how loving Cholly was and how much they loved each other. It is not until later in the novel that we begin to learn about his childhood, and all the humiliating and terrorizing experience he has had.

We learn that Cholly was raised by his great aunt after his father abandoned him and his mother threw him i...


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...you know it was you...I mean maybe it wasn't you. Maybe it was me" (146).

Though she was seen as the town's outcasts, someone the community could measure themselves against to know their own goodness, Sula was the realest person. She wasn't someone who tried to be what she wasn't. She did not scorn others in the way they scorned her. In a way, she was more pious. There are other minor characters in which Morrison leaves the blame in the air. Eva killing her son, Ralph, to save him from himself, and his heroine addiction and Teapot's mother abusing and neglecting him until he was hurt because of Sula.

In both novels, Toni Morrison does not want to point the finger at any characters. She wants to give the reader all the information about the characters' life, and their subsequent behavior and let them decide who really is at fault, if there is anyone.



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