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How can Sula be considered a misunderstood hero when she is portrayed as a villain...

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katt567 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 31, 2010 at 6:22 AM via web

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How can Sula be considered a misunderstood hero when she is portrayed as a villain throughout the whole novel Sula?

I'm having trouble considering Sula as a misunderstood hero given her actions throughout the novel.

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted November 1, 2010 at 12:52 AM (Answer #1)

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Sula may be considered a misunderstood hero in the novel Sula because she is continually trying to develop her identity in a community that is not supportive or accepting of her as a person.  The members of the Bottom see Sula as a community outcast and are not sad when she disappears for many years.  Her actions towards her family and friends make her seem a villain:  Sula does not lament the burning of her own mother and instead watches from the window in awe; she also does not understand why Nel is so angry with her for sleeping with Jude.  However, Sula does not have the same views on the responsibilities and obligations that people have towards others so she does not follow these rules in her life.  Sula attempts to posit her own sense of identity in the relationships that she has with others, and therefore, she is a misunderstood hero.

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zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:13 AM (Answer #2)

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I do not believe Sula should be directly characterized as a villain because this entire time she is trying to mold her own identity and break apart from gender roles. When she leaves for 10 years the members of the Bottom do not really react and while her mother burns she simply watches. Sula does not have a sense of responsibility or a true understanding of the codes of conduct within the society which leads her to become an outcast from others around her. 

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