When Two Make One in Sula by Toni Morrison


Length: 712 words (2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

When Two Make One in Sula by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison's novel Sula is about two young black girls that become close friends, but eventually split up and take different paths through life. Sula decides to go against social conventions and live a more independent, reckless life, while Nel on the other hand decides to marry and settle down. In the end both girls are nearly the same, even though they lived their lives very differently.
Both girls grew up in a majority black neighborhood known as the Bottom. This neighborhood is located up in the hills of Ohio, looking down on the wealthier white town of Medallion. The Bottom got its name from a time when a slave owner, disliking the land, persuaded one of his slaves that it was "the bottom of heaven- best land there is"(5). Ever since then more people chose to live in the Bottom and it became a thriving community.
Sula and Nel came from very contrasted families. Sula's mother was widowed, and "had a steady sequence of lovers, mostly the husbands of her friends and neighbors"(42). She did not have many woman friends, because most of them disliked her for her attitude towards her relationships. Growing up in an environment where her mother had so many different men taught Sula that "sex was pleasant and frequent, but otherwise unremarkable"(44). Nel's mother on the other hand, strived to be the pillar of the black community. She was a woman who "won all social battles with persistence and a conviction of the legitimacy of her authority"(18). She was a woman who tried her hardest to fit into an ideal social mold, and she taught her daughter the 'right' way to live.
The two girls became friends while they were in primary school, and they preferred the other's home life. Sula liked the "oppressive neatness"(29) while Nel "preferred Sula's wooly house"(29). They became inseparable, understanding the other's thoughts and actions, one completing the other. "They found relief in each other's personality"(53). Nel was always the calm one, in control, while Sula was uncontrollable. To save Nel from harassing boys, Sula once cut the tip of her finger off to scare them away, and when Sula accidentally threw a neighborhood boy into the water, Nel remained calm after they watched him drown.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"When Two Make One in Sula by Toni Morrison." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Nov 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=133087>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Toni Morrison's Sula - Unhealthy Relationship of Sula and Nel Essay - The Unhealthy Relationship of Sula and Nel Organisms in nature rely on one another for their well being. However, sometimes those organisms become greedy and decide to take in the relationship, instead of sharing with their symbiotic partner. Through this action, it takes on parasitic characteristics. In Toni Morrison's work, Sula, Sula Peace and Nel Wright demonstrate how a symbiotic relationship goes awry. When one partner betrays the other, by taking instead of giving, the other partner suffers....   [tags: Toni Morrison, Sula Essays] 1391 words
(4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Racism and Sexism in Toni Morrison's Sula Essay - Racism and Sexism in Toni Morrison's Sula Racism and sexism are both themes that are developed throughout the novel Sula, by Toni Morrison. The book is based around the black community of "The Bottom," which itself was established on a racist act. Later the characters in this town become racist as well. This internalized racism that develops may well be a survival tactic developed by the people over years, which still exists even at the end of the novel. The two main characters of this novel are Nel Wright and Sula Peace....   [tags: Toni Morrison Sula Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1607 words
(4.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Toni Morrison's Sula - Sula and Nel as Soulmates Essay - Sula and Nel as Soulmates in Toni Morrison's Sula In examining the two distinct characters of Nel (Wright) Greene and Sula Peace from Toni Morrison's Sula, a unique individual soul emerges from the two women. This soul takes into account good, bad, and gray area qualities. They gray area qualities are needed because, while Nel exhibits more of the stereotypical "good" qualities than Sula, the stereotypes of good and bad don't fit the definition completely. Nel and Sula combined create a type of ying and yang soul, each half including some of the other half....   [tags: Sula Essays]
:: 7 Works Cited
2111 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Relationship Between Nel And Sula in Toni Morrison's Sula Essay - Often in nature organisms rely on one another to survive. Relationships in which each partner gives equally are called symbiotic. The two partners live harmoniously along side one another depending on each other but still have the ability to stand and act alone should they need to. However, these perfect relationships do not always exist. Sometimes, certain organisms take more than they give and as a result the other organism suffers. Those that do this are called parasites. In Toni Morrison's novel, Sula, Sula Peace and Nel Wright demonstrate a symbiotic relationship gone awry....   [tags: Sula Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1227 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Toni Morrison's Sula - The Fire Within Sula Essay - The Fire Within Sula   Sula by Toni Morrison is a compelling novel about a unique, self-confident woman.  As in many other books, each secondary character in the story serves as a vehicle to explain the main character.  Hannah, Sula's mother, is dominated by the element of air; she is free spirited, frivolous and child-like.  On the other hand, the element of fire is prevalent in Sula, who is impulsive, hot-tempered and passionate.  Despite the differences between the two, Hannah's lifestyle intrigues and influences her daughter.  The effect Hannah has on Sula is reflected in many of her daughter's perspectives and actions.  As a result of the ubiquitous presence of fire within her, in c...   [tags: Sula Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1233 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Toni Morrison's Sula - Breaking the Rules Essays - Breaking the Rules in Sula A community separates themselves from other individuals in a given society. Certain communities carry their own separate rules or laws. It combines a number of people into one group, one way of thinking. Many communities come together because they share the same common goal or interests. On may occasions, a group or community forms when someone is different from the majority. A good example of that would be when a child is being teased in school because he has glasses or braces....   [tags: Sula Essays] 918 words
(2.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Analysis of Sula by Toni Morrison Essay - Analysis of Sula by Toni Morrison Toni Morrison wrote a touching story of two childhood friends who test the bonds of friendship and love. Throughout the story there are many themes that implore the reader to look more in depth at their meanings and consequences. The main theme throughout the book is that of friendship. In the novel we are introduced to two young girls from very different backgrounds, Sula and Nel. These two girls are like two sides of one person; they know each other's thoughts, "a compliment to one was a compliment to the other." Although they appear to be best friends through much of the novel, they betray one another in the end....   [tags: Nel Wright Sula Peace Morrison Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1150 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Close Reading of the Two Holes Passage of Toni Morrison's Sula Essay - A Close Reading of the Two Holes Passage of Sula     Toni Morrison’s novel Sula is rich with paradox and contradiction from the name of a community on top of a hill called "Bottom" to a family full of discord named "Peace." There are no clear distinctions in the novel, and this is most apparent in the meaning of the relationship between the two main characters, Sula and Nel. Although they are characterized differently, they also have many similarities. Literary critics have interpreted the girls in several different ways: as lesbians (Smith 8), as the two halves of a single person (Coleman 145), and as representations of the dichotomy between good and evil (Bergenholtz 4 of 9)....   [tags: Sula Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
928 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay Toni Morrison's Sula - Black on White Violence Advocated in Sula - Black on White Violence Advocated in Sula "And white women. They chase you [black men] to every corner of the earth, feel for you under every bed. I knew a white woman wouldn't leave the house after six o'clock for fear one of you would snatch her.… They think rape soon's they see you, and if they don't get the rape they looking for, they scream it anyway just so the search won't be in vain." (Morrison) This is how Sula, the heroine of Toni Morrison's novel, refers to what she feels to be every white woman's secret desire to be raped by a black man....   [tags: Sula Essays] 1058 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Toni Morrison's Sula - Female Struggle for Identity Essay - The Female Struggle for Identity in Sula     The novel Sula by Toni Morrison exemplifies the new feminist literature described by Helene Cixous in "The Laugh of the Medusa" because of the final portrayal of the two main characters Nel and Sula.  However, it is clear throughout the novel that both Cixous's and Gilbert and Gubar's descriptions of women characters are evident within this novel.  The traditional submissive woman figure paradoxically is set against the new woman throughout the novel.  It is unclear whether the reader should love or despise Sula for her independence until the very last scene.  Although both the perspectives of Cixous and Gilbert/Gubar are evident within the tex...   [tags: Sula Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
2167 words
(6.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]




Once they grew older, Nel and Sula drifted apart. Nel chose the more conventional path and married a popular young man. Her attentions focused on him and "greater than her friendship was this new feeling of being needed by someone who saw her singly"(84). Sula decided to go away to college and explore the city life. She became more independent, focusing only on herself and not wanting to conform to social expectations.
When Sula returned to the Bottom, the two girls were almost as opposite as their mothers were. Nel was with her husband and children, taking on the role of wife and mother. Sula was too involved in herself and what she wanted to raise a family. She said to Eva, "I don't want to make somebody else. I want to make myself"(92). Eventually Sula was labeled as being evil, because of her actions. She put Eva in an old folks home for no reason, she slept with Nel's husband, who soon after left her and her children, and it was rumored that she slept with white men. The people of the town began to hate her, blaming her for everything wrong in their community, even though it made them better. Wives treated husbands better and mothers took better care of their children, careful not to become one of Sula's victims. But Nel was a victim of Sula's selfishness and the two were separated, one having wronged the other.
It would be three years until the two friends were reunited. Nel went to visit Sula while she was on her death bed. After a half-hearted reconciliation, Sula asked Nel which one of them was the good one. She said "maybe it wasn't you. Maybe it was me"(146). Although it doesn't seem like she was the good one on the surface, there is some truth to the statement since her actions actually bettered many of the people around her. Nel disregarded the statement and did not see her friend again.
Nel did not realize how much her friend meant to her until later when she went to visit Eva in the hospital. Eva brought up the time when the two girls watched the neighborhood boy drown. Nel, thinking that Sula was always the bad one, said that it was all Sula's fault and that she didn't have anything to do with it. Eva said to her, "Just alike. Both of you. Never was no difference between you"(169). Not until then did Nel realize how much alike they really were, and that everything that she prided herself in, the calmness and control, were just another way of expressing the same emotions that Sula expressed more openly.
What really drove Nel and Sula apart was the pain that Nel felt after her husband left her. What she thought she was feeling for her husband, missing him, she was really feeling for Sula. The two completed each other, but their upbringings and choices in life caused them to never really realize this. Nel was taught to conform to social conventions, thereby believing what everyone else thought was good or evil. Sula was taught to do what she pleased, not ever really seeing a difference between good and evil. They did not go by what was in their hearts, just in their minds, and that is why the value of their friendship was not realized until it was too late.


Return to 123HelpMe.com