Sula Questions and Answers
by Toni Morrison

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When did Sula and Nel's friendship end?

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The obvious answer to this question is that Sula and Nel stop being friends when Sula has an affair with Nel's husband. After returning from her absence of ten years, Sula scandalizes the Bottom with her behavior. But Nel is intrigued by Sula's experiences, perhaps envying her friends knowledge of the world and sophistication. Naturally, the affair puts an end to all that.

The real event that strains their relationship, however, is the drowning of Chicken Little. This event was an accident: Sula was simply swinging the boy in her arms and lost her grip. The trauma of the child's death, the strain of keeping their role in it a secret and Nel's concern about Sula's reaction (or lack thereof) taints the friendship and they are never quite as close.

Ultimately, Nel is drawn to Sula for all the ways that her friend is unconventional and she is not. She envies Sula's free spirit, open way of talking, and casual attitude toward relationships and sex. However, Sula's life is punctuated by...

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