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Sula by Toni Morrison Essays

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Pruitt, Claude. "Circling Meaning in Toni Morrison's Sula.” African American Review 44.1/2 (2011): 115-129. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
Summary: In Claude Pruitt’s article on Sula, Pruitt describes the circular meaning of the text using her own perceptions and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ralph Ellison’s the Invisible Man. Pruitt reads the text in circles and circles to find the subtext which she believes provides for its meaning. Pruitt’s article discusses how Morrison circles around the subject of the text to showcase the culturally focused discretions displayed in the 1900’s. She mentions the “nigger joke” that Morrison includes at the beginning of the book (4). This showcases the racism displayed in the 1900’s. The “nigger joke” proclaims the bottom’s relationship with the white people who live outside their society. Pruitt also mentions that if the reader were not to come to this conclusion after the “nigger joke” was presented he/she would come to the realization that racism was prevalent in the 1900’s by the social and economic status of the bottom. The soil on which the people of the bottom live on is not considered productive land while the white land is plentiful and rich. Their place of living causes them economic and social distress. Focusing on place, referencing time and location, Pruitt displays how Morrison’s text ultimately shows how the individual does not create their identity but inside and outside their community their identity becomes created. The struggling characters grapple between their cultural identity and acknowledging the emerging cultural fusion.
Another thing that Pruitt focuses on is the circles and circles of sorrow that Morrison mentions at the end of her...


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...for the people in the bottom. If the people in the bottom would have spoken up in regards to their economic and social standings in society would they continue to be a part of the bottom? Sometimes it takes just one person to speak out and then people’s problems would be solved. For example, if Sula and Nel were to have discussed their issues and said what they actually thought would they have reached an agreement? They might have. Morrison uses Lacan’s theories of language in Sula. In the Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Ellison discusses the issue of race through metanarrative and language. In Sula Morrison does the same thing. Although I believe the best way to go about problems is to speak of them clearly, I believe that the metanarrative aspect of Sula contributed to its effectiveness of displaying racial prejudices that needed to change in the 1900’s.



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