Sula Questions and Answers
by Toni Morrison

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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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drcharli eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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For many heroes or heroines, their trajectory to become a hero involves a journey; often, this is both a physical journey (trying to get from one place to another) as well as an emotional or psychological journey (getting from one place of understanding to a greater or deeper place of understanding). Sula does both.

In many ways, Sula bucks whatever is considered "normal" for her time and place, both as a woman and as a black woman. For example, when she goes off to college, she physically leaves her birthplace to see a wider world, an unusual thing to do at the time. She also explores the complexities of emotional space through her understanding of her friendship with Nel and her changing role within that friendship. Sula is genuinely confused when Nel is upset that Sula is having an affair with Jude (Nel's husband) because Sula had understood their friendship as one of shared things. When they were girls, they would have dissected the attention of this one person—in this case...

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Kitty Sharp eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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zumba96 | Student

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.