How does class influence the development of the mother/daughter relationship of the female protagonists of the novel? 

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karenwalcott eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At one point in the story, Sula's mother, Hannah, asks her mother, Eva, if she loves her children. Eva is livid. She has spent her life providing for and caring for her children. She cannot believe that her daughter would question her love for her. If Eva wasn't of a lower socioeconomic class, if she didn't have to spend so much time just surviving, perhaps she could have spent more time showing affection to her daughter. Perhaps if she had spent more time showing her daughter affection, Hannah wouldn't have sought affection from so many different men.

Also, because they are lower class and because they have to survive, Eva and Hannah have to open their home to borders. Hannah often sleeps with the married men who stay in her home. She is friendly with their wives and doesn't seem to understand how her behavior impacts them. Her daughter, Sula, grows up to mimic this behavior. Sula sleeps with her best friend's husband in her own home and cannot seem to comprehend why Nel cannot forgive her. These are the ways that class have influenced the development of the women in the novel Sula.