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Where in the text is feminism found in Sula by Toni Morrison?What characters could be...

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chazzinay93 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 11, 2011 at 3:20 AM via web

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Where in the text is feminism found in Sula by Toni Morrison?

What characters could be talked about concerning feminism and how does Toni Morrison show this?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 11, 2011 at 6:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Feminism is a critical theory applied to a text by a reader. Most authors do not choose to write from a specific perspective--the perspective (or lens) is applied after the fact.

Feminist critical analysis (or feminism) is when a text contains social, political, physical, or psychological oppression of women. Women are simply measured by the rules established by the patriarchy (man's rules) and their ability to follow them--or not follow them. Feminist literature wishes to change the way which culture and society oppresses women.

Typical ways to find a feminist perspective in a text is to look at a few key questions:

1. How are women treated in the text? How are men treated in the text? Are they looked at as equal?

2. How does the author define the roles specific to both men and women?

3. Do any characters possess traits typical of the opposite sex? How are they regarded by other characters?

All of this being said, it is up to a reader to identify and justify feminism in a text.

One character to examine in Sula, by Toni Morrison is Sula Peace. First, Sula decides not to take the road chosen by Nel Wright. Nel chooses to take the path which women were supposed to take. Marry, have children, and role of the conscientious black woman in a close community. Sula, instead, chooses to leave, go to college,and embrace a life very different from her own. Upon her return to her childhood neighborhood/community, Sula faces great hatred.

Therefore, one could justify that Sula's character possesses characteristics of the opposite sex (going out on her own and going to college) and is shunned because of it. The people she knew growing up simply do not accept her choices given they do not follow what is expected of the black woman of her day.

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