On Sula’s Quest f Selfhood in Toni Mrison’s Sula毕业论文
2.1 The underprivileged life of the black in the black community “bottom” ————3
2.1.1 The gender discrimination in “bottom”———————————————— 3
2.1.2 The racial discrimination in “bottom”————————————————–5
2.2 Factors leading to the awakening of Sula’s awareness of selfhood——————-6
2.2.1 The significant influence of Sula’s grandmother Eva — the pioneer of the black feminism———————————————————————————–6
- The significant influence of Sula’s mother Hannah——————————–7
2.2.3 The positive influence of Sula’s best female friend Nel—————————–8
2.2.4 The negative influence of Sula’s boyfriend Ajax————————————10
2.3 Sula’s dauntless pursuit of selfhood by rebellions————————————-10
2.3.1 Rebellion against her grandmother — Eva——————————————-11
2.3.2 Rebellion against the black community “bottom” ———– ———————-11
2.3.3 Rebellion by living as an experimentalist——————————————–12
Works Cited ———————————————————————————— 15
On Sula’s Quest for Selfhood in Toni Morrison’s Sula
Toni Morrison (February 18, 1931 — ) is an American author and a professor of literature at Princeton University. She is the winner of Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Toni Morrison was born in Loreen, the city of steel, Ohio, in a normal Negro family. Her father was a worker while her mother was a servant in a white family. Morrison passed the entrance examination of Howard University, which was specially established for the black and at that time she majored in English and classical literature. She entered the Cornell University to study Faulkner’s and Thomas Wolfe’s novels after she got the degree of Bachelor of Arts, and later she got the Master’s degree. And then, she started to teach literature in the Texas Southern University and Howard University. In 1966, she worked as a senior editor of Random House in New York. As an editor, Morrison played a vital role in bringing black literature into the mainstream, editing books by authors such as Henry Dumas and Toni Cade Bambara. The Black Book, compiled by Toni Morrison, records the history of the black in America in last 300 year and it is called “an encyclopedia of the history of American black”.
Up to now, Toni Morrison has written nine long novels. Her first novel was The Bluest Eye (1970). Song of Solomon (1977) and Beloved (1987) are among her notable novels. The novel Sula (1973) is also one of her famous novels because of her winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. It made Morrison the first female winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Her novels depict the black Americans’ life vividly.
The novel Sula (1973) mainly tells a story about two girls: Sula and Nel. Sula and Nel are two girls who are born in the black community “bottom” and grow up there. They are the same as other Negro children, and are born with no respect or rights. But the two little girls have their own ideas. They can’t understand the world and they want to be treated differently from the Negroes in the “bottom” by all people. They try to find the meaning of life and search for selfhood. But things change after Nel gets married. After marriage, Nel settles into the conventional role of wife and mother. Sula follows a wildly divergent path and lives a life of fierce independence and total disregard for social conventions. Shortly after Nel’s wedding, Sula leaves the “bottom” and goes out for further study. When Sula comes back to the “bottom”, people change their opinions about Sula because of Sula’s crazy rebellions, which make her a betrayer and personification of evil in others’ eyes. Ironically, the community’s labeling of Sula as evil actually improves their own lives. Her presence in the community gives them the impetus to live harmoniously with one another. For example, Sula sends her grandmother to a geracomium, hence others begin to take care of their parents and grandparents. Sula sleeps with different men and abandons them the next day; hence these husbands start to cherish their wives. What Sula does is just to find the answers to the questions who I am and what the aim of life is. The appearance of Ajax in Sula’s life gives Sula hints of the meaning of life. Unfortunately, Ajax leaves Sula finally. Though Sula loses her love, she has got the courage to live better. But God eventually let Sula, the experimentalist die of disease.
Sula has always been considered to be one of the classical works in the history of American literature and has also attracted many scholars all over the world to study it. Scholars have studied it from such different perspectives as analysis of its themes, characters and artistic features. Recently, many critical theories such as feminism, narratology and psychoanalysis are also used in the appreciation of the novel.
This thesis aims to explore Sula’s arduous quest for her selfhood in Toni Morrison’s Sula by analyzing her underprivileged life in the black community “Bottom”, the factors contributing to the awakening of her awareness of selfhood and her dauntless pursuit of selfhood by rebellion. This thesis consists of three parts. The first part gives a brief introduction to the novelist Toni Morrison, her representative novel Sula as well as the title character Sula. The second part focuses on Sula’s underprivileged life in the black community “Bottom”, different factors leading to the awakening of Sula’s awareness of selfhood and Sula’s dauntless pursuit of selfhood by her rebellion. The third part reaches the conclusion that it is Sula’s courageous rebellion that eventually leads to the realization of her selfhood.