Alone and disoriented, he painfully makes his way back to Medallion and then to the Bottom, his old neighborhood.
Plot summary[ edit ] The Bottom is a mostly black neighborhood in Ohio. A white farmer promised freedom and a piece of Bottom land to his slave if he would perform some very difficult chores.
When the slave completed the work, he asked the farmer to keep his end of the bargain. He had hoped to give him a piece of the bottom land.
The slave blinked and said he thought valley land was bottom land. The master said, "Oh no! He returns a shattered man, unable to accept the complexities of the world. He lives on the outskirts of town, attempting to create order in his life.
One of his methods involves compartmentalizing his fear of death in a ritual he invents and names National Suicide Day.
The town is at first wary of him and his ritual, then, over time, unthinkingly accepts him.
Meanwhile, the families of the children Nel and Sula are contrasted. Nel is the product of a family that believes deeply in social conventions; hers is a stable home, though some might characterize it as rigid.
Their house also serves as a home for three informally adopted boys and a steady stream of boarders. Despite their differences, Sula and Nel become fiercely attached to each other during adolescence. However, a traumatic accident changes everything. One day, Sula playfully swings a neighborhood boy, Chicken Little, around by his hands.
When she loses her grip, the boy falls into a nearby river and drowns. They never tell anyone about the accident even though they did not intend to harm the boy. The two girls begin to grow apart. An ambulance comes, but Hannah dies en route to the hospital, and her mother is injured as well. Other residents of the Bottom suggest perhaps Sula was stunned by the incident, but Eva believes she stood and watched because she was "interested".
After high school, Nel chooses to marry and settles into the conventional role of wife and mother. Sula follows a wildly divergent path and lives a life of fierce independence and total disregard for social conventions.
She has many affairs, some, it is rumored, with white men. However, she finds people following the same boring routines elsewhere, so she returns to the Bottom and to Nel. Upon her return, the town regards Sula as the very personification of evil for her blatant disregard of social conventions.
Her presence in the community gives them the impetus to live harmoniously with one another. Nel breaks off her friendship with Sula. Just before Sula dies inthey achieve a half-hearted reconciliation. Sula died a lonely death, when her body was found, the black community did not care and let the white people take care her funeral.
Nel meets Eva in in a home for old people, where Eva tells Nel that she knew about her and Sula drowning Chicken Little. When Nel says goodbye to Sula at her gravestone, she cries out in agony and grief as she recalls years spent with and without her best friend.
Though the circumstances are never fully explained, it is suggested that she purposely put it under a train in order to collect insurance money to support her three young children after her husband left her. She has a particular relation with her children and we do not always understand what she does she sets her son Plum on fire thinking she is doing right.
She passes on to Hannah and then Sula a need for male attention. Hannah is a promiscuous and care-free woman who burned to death early on. Her daughter Sula witnessed the fire but did nothing and her mother tried to save her by jumping on top of her from her bedroom window.
Plum was a WWI veteran and a heroin addict. Eva burns him alive with kerosene because of his mental instability. Though the daughter of a prostitute, she was raised by her devoutly religious grandmother, Cecile. She is the opposite of Sula, she decided to marry, have children and stay in the Bottom when she became an adult.
He invents National Suicide Day. Tar Baby Pretty Johnnie: A quiet, cowardly, and reserved partially or possibly fully white man who rents out one of the rooms in the Peace household.Influence Character Solution.
Sula speaks out against the community, and worse, does not take part in it. Hinder Influence Character Symptom. Sula questions Nel’s self-righteousness. Help Influence Character Response.
Sula helps create a balance in Nel’s life: Her old friend had come home. Sula. One of the most enigmatic characters in Sula, Ajax is a young, energetic resident of the Bottom, who seems to be a brutish, sexist man, but also proves to have a sensitive, mysterious side (read full character analysis).
1. Use passages and characters from the novel to illustrate how Morrison incorporates the principles and ideals of feminism. 2. Do any characters change drastically from the beginning of the novel to its end? Sula Peace Hannah's daughter and Eva's granddaughter, whose most defining physical feature is a mysterious birthmark over one of her eyes.
Although Sula never marries, she takes many lovers; the black community regards her as evil and bewitched. Dr. Keith Byerman: I think there is something about the character of Sula that in some curious way represents certain values and a certain consciousness that we traditionally and conventionally associate with men, as opposed to Nel, for example.
Think about the character of Sula.
She is independent. She goes off on her own. Sula demonstrates numerous doubles or parallels between the novel’s characters. For example, Sula and Eva both kill men (Sula kills Chicken Little; Eva kills Plum). For example, Sula and Eva both kill men (Sula kills Chicken Little; Eva kills Plum).