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What kind of criticism can be used for the text Sula by Toni Morrison?

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bunade | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 18, 2010 at 10:16 PM via web

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What kind of criticism can be used for the text Sula by Toni Morrison?

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

Posted June 24, 2010 at 11:59 PM (Answer #1)

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There are several options; Sula lends itself directly to feminist criticism.  Sula's family is often criticized by other residents of the Bottom, and particularly the women of the family are seen as less than respectable.  Nel, on the other hand, comes from a socially upright family.  Viewing Sula from a feminist perspective would allow the reader to analyze the nature of gender roles that is apparent in the novel.  Further, the characters' challenging of these roles would be of issue as the reader attempts to view the motivation behind much of Sula's illicit behavior.

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shadowplay | eNoter

Posted June 25, 2010 at 12:51 AM (Answer #2)

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Toni Morrison was inspired by the magic realist writers from South America (Gabriel Garcia Marquez in particular) and wanted to create a novel that addressed African American themes more thoroughly through this literary form. The magic realists believed that by addressing serious and often surreal problems of  brtuality and violence under dictatorships could only be fully expressed through the absurd. By normalizing the absurd (the magic realist aspects of their novels are rarely treated as extraordinary), they were able to reveal the true horror of the circumstances under which they were forced to live. Morrison does the same with Sula in addressing the racial climate of the WWI and WII eras for Black Americans. A critical analysis of magic realism and the ways in which Morrison employs them in Sula could be an option for you.

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