How is the environment/nature used as a foreshadowing tool in Sula?

In Sula, the environment is used as a foreshadowing tool because the destruction of Bottom’s natural habitat and preexisting landmarks prepare the reader for the calamitous actions of the characters.

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From the start, the environment and nature plays a pivotal role in Sula. As you might have noticed, Toni Morrison’s very first sentence addresses the environment. The environment has been under attack. The land has been torn apart so that a Medallion City Golf Course can be built.

The construction of the golf course seems to have a big impact on the town. To make the road that leads to the golf course nicer, they’re also going to demolish the “stripped and faded buildings” where the Bottom citizens once spent so much time.

You could argue Morrison leads with the destruction of Bottom to prepare the readers for the violent and destructive behavior of the characters. It’s, as your question notes, a foreshadowing tool. You could claim the developments of the characters mimic the development of the land. In both cases, you could argue that what unfolds is disquieting.

You could say that it’s not mindful to tear apart a town with its own history and meaning in order to build a superficial golf course. Yet many of the characters don’t seem so mindful of their own well-being. They seem intent on destroying themselves. It seems like Tar Baby is trying to kill himself with alcohol. Meanwhile, Plum would have probably killed himself with drugs if his mom didn’t take matters into her own hands.

Then there’s Chicken Little. Remember, when Nel watched him drown, “she felt so good.” Nel could have tried to save him, but she didn’t. In a way, she let him die, which appears to link back to the environment of Bottom and the death that it suffers.

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