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2. The novel begins by telling the reader that the Bottom, the neighborhood above Medallion, will soon be gone, replaced by the Medallion City Golf Course. How does knowing that the Bottom will soon be gone influence the rest of the novel? How does this description imply that things are not what they appear to be on the surface?
3. What are some possible reasons Eva's decision to go downstairs and light the fire, "the smoke of which was in her hair for years"? How does this make you feel about her character? Was this an act of sacrifice or selfishness? Can Eva be described as "good" or "bad"?
4. Eva gave her children to a neighbor and returned 18 months later, minus one leg. What is the possible symbolic significance of Eva's missing leg? How does it tie into the theme of deceptive appearances in the novel?
5. Sula contains some adult language and themes. Is this book appropriate for high school students? Are African Americans portrayed in a positive or negative light in the book? What about the portrayal of white people?
6. The novel takes place over the course of 45 years. How do relations between the races change over the course of the novel? How are the inhabitants of the Bottom and Medallion changed by what's going on in the world around them?
7. One reviewer commented that Sula is "a complex story of friendship and disappointment, death and sex, desperation and vulnerability" (Gayle Sims, Knight-Ridder Newspaper). How would you characterize the novel?
8. Sula and Nel become friends and later seem to be each other's alter egos. How does Nel's decision to marry inform Sula's life? How does Sula's leaving influence Nel?
Posted January 11, 2007
If you're going to criticize someone's work. Do it without spelling errors. It's THEN not THAN. This book is a bit confusing since each chapter changes from the story of one person, to someone else's story. But all the characters resided in one town Bottom. Nobody in the Bottom understood Sula. She was neither shown nor given any love, nor was she taught how to express love. She was a very realistic character whom you could relate to. Confused, her inner innocence was pitying as well as sympathizing. Toni Morrison's Sula is a very realistic and powerful novel, with plenty of imagery and details for readers with a vivid imagination and true understanding of literature. I definately recomend it. :}
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Posted January 24, 2005
The novel Sula was very interesting and a pleasure to read. I was given the novel to read by my English teacher in the start of november. My teacher explained the concept of the novel and my first thought was that the novel would be another boring and drawn out book that the teachers love to give us. My teacher went on and on about how it would be a great read, little did I know how she was so wrong; the book was not a great read it was a new experience. Toni Morrison, the author of Sula, grabbed my attention with the first sentence in which she explained the reason behind ¿the bottom¿. Morrison unique style and characters kept me glued to the book. Morrison¿s ability to create a world of both beauty and corruption was amazing. She accomplishes what most authors, I believe, can not. She makes everything real; she shows that the world isn¿t as black and white as people portray it to be. Her characters have realistic qualities; they show that a person is never truly evil or good. Morrison¿s language is another great factor to this masterpiece of a novel. Morrison has a way of making a horrible event or action into beautiful poetic writing. This novel is not only interesting to read but a great tool for teaching. The novel introduces students to different styles of writing. It is also a great story to analyze; almost everything Morrison writes can be dissected and pulled apart to find a true meaning or idea. The novel maybe a little raunchy and surreal but it is a great book for high school students. This Novel deserves nothing less than five star rating on my scale.
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Posted March 5, 2006
When I began reading Sula, Morrison's seemingly overuse of color adjectives caught my eye. At first I thought she was merely a 'colorful' and descriptive writer by nature, but as the novel progressed, I realized it was done by intention. The following are examples of Morrison¿s ¿overuse¿ of color adjectives. - '...the purity and the whiteness of his own birth' (3) - '¿the lumpy whiteness of rice, the quivering blood tomatoes, the grayish-brown meat' (8) - '...that the white, the red and the brown would stay' (8) -'he was frightened of the voice in the apple-green suit¿' (9) -'he was standing by a low red building¿' (11) -'he saw a grave black face¿' (13) -'¿his eyes travel over the pale yellow woman' (20) -'...in the city where the red shutters glowed' (20) -'...soldiers still in their ****-colored uniforms' (21) -'...and turned for compassion to the gray eyes' (21) -'...at the salmon-colored face of the conductor' (21) -'¿her eyes fastened on the thick velvet collar' (23) -¿¿on the door hung a black crepe wreath with a purple ribbon' (24) -'¿a woman in a yellow dress...' (25) -'...and a canary-yellow dress¿' (25) All of these examples occur within the first twenty-five pages of the novel. Clearly, Morrison is making a point. She¿s emphasizing how significant color is in a minority's life. For me, a middle-class white male, color is not a day-to-day issue and therefore, I don't give much attention to it. When I look at objects, rarely do I concern myself with its color. This is why I enjoyed Morrison¿s novel. It exposes her readers to a sampling of what life is like in a minority's world where color is always an issue. Overall, Morrison¿s racial awareness is prevalent throughout Sula, making it a very solid and wholesome novel.
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Posted January 7, 2009
I am astonished by these negative reviews. This is the book that introduced me to Toni Morrison, decades ago, and I will be eternally grateful. Maybe these reviews are written by Oprah fans who are not use to thoughtful, challenging (although really, it's an easy read) great literature. This book is close to perfect - the characters are three dimensional, the story is original yet oddly familiar, and the ending is a revelation. I could not possibly pick a "favorite book," but if I were forced to, Sula would absolutely be a contender.
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Posted September 14, 2007
This book was without a doubt her best peice of work. I have read beloved, tar baby, jazz, and pardise but Sula captured my eye like the others could not. It is the type of book that maybe hard to understand in the start but the way she writes by the end of the story she has you thinking 'it all makes sense now' two thumbs way up to Miss.Toni Morrison
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Posted January 26, 2013
It was a good one day read. My only complaint is with the condition of the book. The front cover was bent right down the middle. I didn't get any cooperation from the foreigner (couldn't understand her part of the time so it was repeat, repeat) I talked to on the phone & finally hung up.
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Posted September 8, 2012
Posted October 16, 2011
Story-telling flow feels like Fried Green Tomatoes. Although told as an early African American tale, Sula is truly a story of friendship during early American culture.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 22, 2011
So far, this is the best Toni Morrison book I have read. Others I have read are "Beloved" and "The Bluest Eyes". This book is a work of art. The writing is so musical it washes over you and through you and buoys you up on emotion. So beautiful it hurts. It is a rare book that can affect me so - to lift my mind from my body to leave me floating in it's lyrical beauty.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 21, 2010
Toni Morrison just cannot do wrong. This novel is outstanding. To be brief, the novel pivots around the two central characters, Nel Wright and Sula Peace. Without giving away any plot detail or anything, I believe the final question you will be left wondering in the end is who the "hero" or protagonist is. Morrison makes this a very difficult question to answer, and I believe she does this on purpose. The ending of the story does not offer the typical resolution one comes to expect with most literature today. I found myself asking if there was any resolution to any problem, and I really don't think there was. However, that is just one of the many things that is so fascinating about this book and Morrison's style in general. She refuses to conform to typical models of writing, and I am forever grateful for her ability to break away from the societal norm.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 26, 2010
Toni Morrison's Sula took place in an all black city in the south around the 1900s. The main characters in the story were best friends, Sula Peace and Nel Wright. Sula and Nel were the totally opposite, yet they fitted hand in hand. Nel was the more responsible on that others counted on, and felt comforted by. She rarely ever showed her emotions when she was hurt and never kept grudges. Sula on the other hand couldn't hide her anger for more than a split second. Even though her and Nel were the same age, it seemed as if she was always less mature than her friend. The one time she wanted to comfort or defend Nel she ended up making the situation worse than what it was. It seemed as if they would stay the best of friends, until the day Nel got married and Sula left Bottom for 10 years. When Sula arrived everything in Bottom changed for the worse. People weren't the least bit excited upon her return. People believed her wayward acts brought the plague of dead robins over the town. The only person that was somewhat glad was Nel. When the first saw each other after ten years it wasn't one of a big reunion. They spoke as if there wasn't a ten-year gap that they didn't have to catch up on. It was because every woman in Bottom, except Nel, believed Sula would snatch their husbands from them.
Unfortunately for Nel, Sula had done what other women feared to her, her only best friend. Nel didn't know whether or not she should live or die. The pain she experienced from the betrayal of her own "best friend" was unbelievable. The only thing that kept her moving on was her children. Sula later went on with her life being lonely, or as she put it, independent. At a point she felt as if she met the man she would possibly spend forever with. Only fate knew if she would spend her life with him and if Nel would ever have the heart to forgive Sula for causing so much pain in her life. The book Sula was a great read for me. It had such a strong message to say that people can always change at anytime. I had many likes on how the author, Toni Morrison, told the story. The way the author portrayed the message clearly throughout the whole story gave me the urge to keep reading. Even though there was some use of adult language, it showed me the anger and frustration each character was going through. I also liked how she would start on a concept and flashback to show how it came to be. It left me wondering and wanting to know what will happen next. I didn't like how the author took a long time to get to the climax of the novel, which was when Sula stole Nel's husband from her.
Posted January 13, 2010
Toni Morrison's controversial novel of the life of two paradoxical girls and their struggle through friendship, personality, stereotypes and life is dramatic, touching, and thrilling. Toni Morrison strategically uses symbols to tell the story.
This story takes place in a small black "suburb-like" city called black bottom where all of the town's people are superstious. The story's two main characters, Sula Peace and Nel Wright, are best friends. The two girls are often called "two half's of one whole" and later in the book they are realized and confronted to be the same person by Sula's grandmother Eva saying to Nel "You. Sula. What's the difference?"" (pg.168). This is important because Sula and Nel are two totally different people with two totally different personalities and values. Nel is from a well brought up home. She was raised by her Creole mother who had great morels and was very religious her mother fit the regular house wife stereotype. On the other hand Sula was raised up by her mother and grandmother in a house that had no morals. Hannah, Sula's mother, was the women in the town who enjoyed being with many men. Toni Morrison uses these two characters as a way to express the message that the way you are raised is life altering. Sure enough she expressed it well because the two girls grew up to be what they were raised around. Through the story the girls struggle to fight stereotype through a series of unfortunate events and soul damaging lies, facts, and serious accusations.
I felt this book was very interesting if you like drama. The main character Sula Peace and her family are the most dramatic people in this book. All of the peace women are known to be Manish "with exception of boy boy, those peace women loved all men." This brought a lot of drama to black bottom".
Toni Morrison uses a lot of symbols and motifs to get her point across almost everything in the book is symbolic. This kind of lost me but when I searched the meaning to get an understanding of it, I then realized how brilliant the sentence was. Specifically, on major theme was change that she symbolized through the community, but it is only shown In the first chapter and in the last two chapters, this was very confusing because I felt as if the story was scattered away from the theme most of the time. At times it was hard to stay focused because she was so long winded while describing things but it was all for the good because it helped me visualized the scene in my head. Toni Morrison's descriptions were so good that at times her characters mad me so mad, sad and happy.
Ex. Eva Peace was a very crazy. She felt that her son was being deteriorated by drugs so she took matters into her own hands. "Eva sat in plums room rocking him.he awoke and told her to got to bed..she poured kerosene on his body and lit a match."(pgs.47-49)
I feel this is an over all great book.
Posted December 29, 2009
This is, to put it simply, an unforgettable novel. The two main characters are Sula and Nel. Nel lives a middle class existence, domineered by her proper Creole mother, Helene. Sula grows up poor,
in an enormous house with her scandalous mother, scheming grandmother, and various boarders. The two girls begin an unlikely friendship, though ultimately, they take different paths. Sula is a complx character. She is a sexual creature, an educated woman, a daring rebel. Nel is the exact opposite. She stays in Bottom, raises her children alone, and does what she is expected to do. I loved this novel because of its sensitivity, and its raw, unabashedly souful portrayal of not just the African-American experience, but what it means to be an African-American woman. Toni Morrison's characters are brought to life with lyrical prose. The reader feels as though the characters are real, breathing, feeling people. I recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys excellent literature.
Now on the list of favorites for me! This was just one in several books Ive read in my fascination to know and understand black history and the differences in cultures in one nation. What a great journey its been,
If anyone struggles to understand the reasons behind the characters actions I would suggest further reading and studies. Sulas lack of recieving and ability to Love is at the core of allot of her actions as the previous reviewer suggested.
Posted November 1, 2008
I Also Recommend:
Usually like Oprah's recommendations. This is the only one I can say that I really felt was trash. This is a story about a self aborbed, apathetic, amoral child who grows into adulthood. She returns to her poor beginnings to cheat with her best friend's husband, to disrespect her mother, and to never evolve into a contributing member of society. She is so unlikeable that the reader can never feel the empathy the writer wants to evoke at the end. I read the book through because it was so short, but left it in the hotel room because it was so bad, I wouldn't even give it to the library. What was Oprah thinking? If you want a book about a disfunctional family, and what they go through to overcome their situation (which was never the outcome in SULA) then read "The Corrections", also an Oprah recomendation.
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Posted August 21, 2007
i was highly disappointed with this boook. i thought it was going to be wonderful with all the outstanding reviews, but it didnt have a plot and was hard to follow. i dont reccomend it to anyone.
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Posted June 20, 2007
This book was a complete disappointment. It was completely morbid and pointless. People burn each other, jump out of windows, celebrate Suicide Day, and there is no plot. It was a horrible read that, even with only about 120 pages, will make you want to gauge your eyes out so that you won't have to finish it.
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Posted November 24, 2006
I read Sula for a book club/ reading group I participate in. When I read what it was about, didn't really sound too interesting to me. But I ended up loving it! This is the first book I have read by Toni Morrison so far.. I will be reading more from her! Definetely recommend this to others!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 7, 2005
My mother told me to designate a book to do report on in the summer of 2004. I didn't go wrong in picking my first Toni Morrison book, Sula. Nel and Sula are the best of friends through thick and thin--every trial and every good day. Then Sula leaves Medallion...ten years pass--and oh boy is she mean! She treats her grandmother like she is crazy (even though she is). She desecrates Nel's life and she becomes a bad luck symbol in the town. Gets love and loses it. And then what grabs me is the carefulness with which Toni Morrison takes to describe the family and why Sula and Nel take a liking to each other. Now I see why Toni Morrison is one of the gems of literature.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2005
This book caught my eye because Toni Morrison is a very popular author. I was assigned for a college class to pick a book that was writen by an author that has a different background than I. I did not pick the book very enthusiastically but after reading it I couldnt put it down. I wanted to read it from cover to cover from the very beginning. The way Morrison captivates the stories in it, makes you feel like you really know the characters. You can realate fully and by the end of the story you will know that each of them have a little craziness to them. We're all a little mad in more ways than one sometimes. I suggest this book to anyone with an open mind and is eager for some excitement. You wont want to put this book down.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.