How does communication impact the story? Explain.

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Communication is important in the novel because in becoming free of old stereotypes, the character Sula also isolates herself from the ability to communicate with others, thus breaking community bonds. She becomes a pariah in Bottom because she leaves it, returning as independent and impervious to the culture around her. She refuses to marry, has affairs, and has no desire to please anyone. She acts in ways her neighbors do not, and in this way is an outsider to her community.  It is the breakdown of community, which signifies a breakdown of communication among its inhabitants, that is one of the chief concerns of Morrison in Sula.We see this in the very opening passage: “In that place, where they tore the nightstand and blackberry patches from their roots to make room for the Medallion City Golf Course, there was once a neighborhood.” Bottom represents the “old Southern community” of Blacks where people cared about each other, but it is also a place of the old stereotypes from which Sula breaks free. Freedom comes at the expense of communication.

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