Lesson One: Friendship is important. It can see you through good times and bad times. Sula also shows that friendship is difficult, and can be more difficult as you get older. Friendship is not always easy and fun, and having true friends can at times cause pain and heartache.
Lesson Two: Pride is a double-edged sword. There is yin and yang to it. Pride is the driving force behind several of the female characters of the novel. It makes them strong, independent women. On the other hand, pride is hurtful when it gets in the way of making an apology. It causes people to lay blame elsewhere and can even negatively affect a person's ability to empathize with others.
Lesson Three: Forgiveness is important. It's related to pride, because pride might be the reason someone is unwilling to forgive. But not forgiving people results in deep-seated and long lasting anger. That anger will abate, but often turns into regret if forgiveness is not given. The novel ends with forgiveness finally being given by Nel.
Lesson Four: Making choices and accepting consequences. The novel highlights the importance of characters choosing certain directions for their lives. The ability to make clear, decisive choices is a strong, admirable characteristic in people; however, simply making a choice doesn't mean it is a good choice free of consequences. A person's choice may cause great harm to other people, and a person must accept and attempt to rectify those consequences. This life lesson is related to forgiveness and pride. The choice may have caused harm to another person, and pride gets in the way of asking forgiveness. Sula shows the reader that there is always an effect to every choice a person makes.