Toni Morrison's Sula - The Character of Eva Peace in Sula


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The Character of Eva Peace in Sula

 

 

In the novel Sula, there were other important characters besides Sula.  The character in this book I would like to focus on most is Eva Peace.  Eva is a woman who has a disability but remains strong, and this will be the focus of this paper since it wasn’t focused on so much in the book.  

Eva is an amputee.  There are many different theories about how she lost her leg.  Many say she may have cut it off in order to receive insurance money so she could feed her children.  Other tales told claim that Eva had sold her leg for $10,000.00 or that she had stuck it under a train.  Some people in the town said that there was a corn on her toe and it just grew and grew, traveling up her entire leg until the doctors finally had to cut it off.  Others told stories about how her leg had just got up one day and walked off.  Nobody quite knew how Eva had lost her leg and not many people in the town remembered her with it, but everyone knew that Eva Peace was a very strong woman who knew what she needed to do in order to survive.  Her survival consisted of taking care of her children, making sure they had enough to eat. 

            Eva was the single mother of three kids.  She was the matriarchal figure in her household, which did not only consist of her children, Pear, Plum, and Hannah and Hannah’s daughter Sula, but also many others who boarded in her house.  There were three young boys, all named Dewey by Eva, who had arrived to the house at the same time.  Eva knew that if she named them all the same name it would make them feel as though they were equally loved and cared about.  Such name-calling created a positive camaraderie between them.  Also in the boarding house resided a drunk, Tar Baby, and various newlyweds.  Eva kept the whole house under control.

            Although the logistical theory of how she lost her leg was to feed her family, it did not stop there.  Eva did everything she could do to protect her children.  She used her stump, in one incidence, to maneuver herself in such a way that she was able to jump out of the window and save Hannah, who was literally on fire.

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  It was very important for Eva to “save” her kids even if it meant from themselves, such as was the case with Plum.  Her amputation gave her enough money to feel she had no other choice.  Eva was such a strong character in this book; her disability did not prevent her from doing other things.  She provided food and shelter for her children and made sure they had the necessities of life. 

Eva is one of many who have to deal with disabilities, and does so in such a positive way.  However, there are so many others who do not deal as well with their own physical handicap.  They allow it to effect their lives traumatically.  Some resort to drugs and alcohol, others may become maniacally depressed.  Frustration and anger is often lashed out at family members and loved ones.  Disabled persons, at times, have difficulties dealing with their fate.  Fortunately for Eva, her sense of security encouraged her to react differently.

I think Eva is a very positive portrayal of a woman.  Although she was disabled, she was not weak.  Being a black woman, her color was an issue that could have been considered negative at that time, but it was not for her.  She was a very strong character, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It is great to see that her disability was not focused on too much or looked upon in a negative way.  Eva is an inspiration because of her strength.  There was even a time when she almost bled to death when she jumped out of the window to save Hannah, but she survived.  She fought throughout her life.  Her granddaughter, Sula, accused her once of cutting off her leg believing that Eva is so unfeeling that the pain would not even faze her.  Sula, however, did not understand the motivations that may have led Eva to do such a thing.  Eva had a lot of power, and was an extraordinary role model.  Her power was used unselfishly, her disability caused by the same reason.  I like to see disabilities portrayed in a positive manner.  Eva’s character is very unique, and I appreciate seeing a writer not making someone with a physical disability a weak person.  

 


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