What is the symbolism or significance of the robins in Sula?

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The robins can be seen as signifying a correlation between Sula and the irrepressible forces of nature.

Sula returns to Medallion in 1937, ten years after Nel’s wedding, and her presence in the town brings a new and invidious life to the town.

“Accompanied by a plague of robins, Sula came back to Medallion. The little yam-breasted birds were everywhere, exciting very small children away from their usual welcome into a vicious stoning.”

Where once there was a quiet distance between neighbors, between parents and their children and between wives and their husbands, Sula’s behavior inspires an almost violent closing of the guard.

The robins that arrive in town with Sula upon her return to Medallion are one of the numerous curious atmospheric elements in the novel. They are symbolically associated with Sula but are also part of a system of signs that function as a magical-realism motif, situating the action of the tale within a world defined by a specific relationship between man and the...

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