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Extravagantly beautiful Enormously, achingly alive A howl of love and rage, playful and funny as well as hard and bitterNew York Times As young girls, Nel and Sula shared each other s secrets and dreams in the poor black mid West of their childhood Then Sula ran away to live her dreams and Nel got married Ten years later Sula returns and no one, least of all Nel, trusts her Sula is a story of fear the fear that traps us, justifying itself through perpetual myth and legend Cast as a witch by the people who resent her strength, Sula is a woman of uncompromising power, a wayward force who challenges the smallness of a world that tries to hold her down What a force her thoughts have been and how grateful we must be that they were offered to us in this extremely challenging age Alice Walker,Guardian BY THE NOBEL PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR OF BELOVED Winner of the PEN Saul Bellow award for achievement in American fiction This novel describes the significant differences in the upbringings of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, two young girls and best friends who eventually separate due to betrayal and unrealized character In the community of the Bottom in the city of Medallion, Ohio, Nel Wright was brought up in a conventional household, her mother teaching her to abide to the expectations of society Sula Peace, on the other hand, was raised in a household as unconventional as can be Living with her mother Hannah and her grandmother Eva, both who are seen by the town as loose and lacking moral Despite the major differences in their home life, and Nel s mother s opinion on Hannah Peace, Nel and Sula were inseparable Following a traumatic incident, the drowning of a child, the two grew apart.Years later, Nel decides to conform to the life that society expects of her as loyal wife and mother Sula, on the other hand, leads an entirely unconventional life, which is evident when she returns to the Bottom after leaving for 10 years following Nel s wedding Sula s return was seen as a return of evil by the people of the Bottom As Sula s return came accompanied by a plague of robins, 89 the robins became a sign of evil to the people The news that Sula had put her grandmother in a home and her involvement in interracial relationships secured the towns view of her as evil The ending of her and Nel s friendship, however, came as a result of Sula s affair with Nel s husband, who then left Nel.Nel blames Sula for the ending of their friendship, as well as the destruction of her marriage and confronts Sula when visiting after hearing of Sula s sickness Sula reveals to her that just because Nel thought she was good, doesn t mean she was the good one She says How you know About who was good How you know it was you 146 Nel s encounter with Eva secures this notion of Nel s skewed perception of her own goodness As Eva neglects to recognize that Nel is not Sula because they are the same, saying You Sula What s the difference 168 Morrison is making a statement about the ambiguity of good and evil Though Sula was technically responsible for the death of the child, Nel was no better, feeling pleasure watching the child be engulfed by the surrounding water.Ultimately, Sula refers to the question what determines good and evil through the genius characterization of Nel Wright and deep description of the life of Sula Peace I rate this book 5 stars and would definitely recommend reading this thought provoking book. Sula is one of those books that you can go back to again and again and feel satisfied each time.This is a story of friendship, family and race relations that is FILLED with metaphors, symbolism and Allegories One interesting focus of the novel is really on women being women and not subscribing to social norms or a certain expectation Most of the women in the novel wanted to have some element of control This control was expressed in various forms i.e sexually, maternal, friendetc There are many symbols to keep the reader engaged in driving the ultimate message of this novel home from the patterned usage of the number 4 to the plague of Robins when something pivotal is about to happen and the overwhelming symbolism of fire and water.If you love a novel filled with hidden meanings, Sula will not disappoint. Sula is an interesting novel set in a primarily African American neighborhood in Ohio set in the first half of the twentieth century The novel is medium length and although sometimes complex, has mostly a easily read flow I mostly liked the novel, but at times I found it somewhat obscure As a non credentialed student of literature I would classify this novel as both Feminist and African American Literature.This is the third novel by Toni Morrison that I have read thus far I have read Song of Solomon , The Bluest Eye and now Sula , in that order Thus far my favorite is The Bluest Eye These novels revolve around African American lifestyle issues Although obviously clearly extremely intelligent and well educated, there is a good deal of street nomenclature that is often vulgar I suppose this makes the novels realistic as reflecting life within some communities However, speaking as a reader, it does not always appeal to me.I purchased this book on Kindle and also an Audiobook, narrated by the author I really valued having a chance to hear Toni Morrison narrate the story, presumably as she wants it read and heard I did the same with The Bluest Eye and really enjoyed that experience.In the event a reader is interested in a somewhat similar novel authored at a slightly earlier time for purpose of comparing and contrasting, one might consider The Street by Ann Petry Ann Poetry also authored an excellent non fiction biography of Harriet Tubman I feel Ann Petry s is well worth reading and being familiar with.In summary, I like this novel a lot, but with reservations I continue to be a fan of Toni Morrison and have already purchased another novel and Audiobook, Tar Baby My personal favorite novel thus far of Toni Morrison continues to be her first published novel The Bluest Eye Thank You