What life lessons can we draw from Toni Morrison's novel Sula? I need at least four lessons. Thanks!

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Another important lesson, or theme, that the novel iterates is that, in choosing domesticity, women sometimes give away or abandon key parts of themselves in exchange for security and social acceptability. Sula and Nel grow up loving each other. Sula is so protective of Nel that, during a confrontation with...

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Another important lesson, or theme, that the novel iterates is that, in choosing domesticity, women sometimes give away or abandon key parts of themselves in exchange for security and social acceptability. Sula and Nel grow up loving each other. Sula is so protective of Nel that, during a confrontation with bullies, she slices off the edge of her own finger to show them the extent to which she will go.

On the surface, Sula's betrayal of Nel (she goes to bed with Nel's husband, Jude) seems to be a dismissal of their friendship and of her previous urge to protect Nel from harm. However, Sula doesn't go to bed with Jude because she desires him. She does it because she doesn't think that Nel's relationship to him should be more important than her relationship with Sula, and she thinks it certainly isn't more important than her relationship with herself. In this regard, one can argue that Sula was, again, trying to protect Nel from a form of harm—loss of selfhood. Nel doesn't learn this lesson until after Sula has already died. The novel's final lines have Nel crying out, "Oh, girl, girl, girl . . ." Nel is lamenting her loss of Sula and the fact that it's too late to tell her that she understands, now, the lesson that Sula was trying to teach her by sleeping with Jude. However, Nel's cry may as well also be a reference to herself, when she realizes what she has lost by choosing social acceptability over true intimacy.

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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. 

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