In the first few sections of the novel, the tone sets off as the narrator is even-handed. Although there is ugliness in the characters, it is spread around fairly. The author reveals the positive and negative in nearly all the major parts of the novel. The character Sula for example; after she slept with Jude, Morrison follows up the most shocking actions with explanation of the characters actions. Morrison offers the reader this passage: Marriage, apparently, had changed all that, but having had no intimate knowledge of marriage, having lived in a house with women who thought all men available, and selected from them with a care only for their tastes, she was ill prepared for the possessiveness of the one person she felt close to, she new well enough what other women were not jealous of other women; that they were only afraid of losing their jobs. After their husbands would discover that uniqueness lay between their legs.” (Morrison 1939.39)
This helps the reader discover that Morrison doesn’t make any excuses for Sula here, but she does offer the reader a possible explanation for why she doesn’t understand the betrayal Nel feels. Morrison presents the tone to even-handed and allows the reader to reach our own conclusions.
1. Setting and character
The setting of Sula takes place in the rich, fertile hills of Medallion, a small valley in Ohio. The citizens of this town refer to these hills, where the African- American live as the “bottom”. The author used the first few sections in the novel to give the reader with basic knowledge of the town and the Bottom. The Bottom was an old joke by a white farmer, on who gave a slave a section of land in the hills and in exchange doing difficult task for him. The farmer says that his land is bottom land because, “when God looks down, it’s the bottom. That’s why we call it so. It’s the bottom of heaven, the best land there is.” (Morrison 1919.5) The Bottom of Medallion was not being not located at the lowest part of the town, but the high up in the hills. Morrison scrambles into the powerful female bond between the novel’s women and how both nurture and threaten female identity. When the novel ends, the year 1965, the narrator informs the reader the events that shape Sula’s and the black community’s identities between 1919-1965.
2. Setting and action
Morrison reveals a ton about the characters. “It was in that summer, the summer of their twelfth year, the summer of beautiful black boys, that they became skittish, frightened, and bold- all at the same time.” (Morrison 1922.24). The readers get an understanding of Sula and Nel’s fear and boldness; its enough for Morrison to inform the reader.
3. Setting and symbols
One symbol in the novel is Sula’s birthmark, which is placed right above her eyes. The birthmark inspires many elaborate stories among the citizens of the Bottom. It gets darker as Sula’s years go on, the birthmark is a symbol of her age, the maturity, the sadness, etc. Morrison’s states the birthmark resembles a “stemmed rose, Sula desires independence and freedom of a man. When she sleeps with her best friend’s husband, she treats it as if it nothing. She says “I didn’t kill him, I just fucked him” (Morrison 1940.145) Sula doesn’t care what others think, she wants to be different and not be like every other woman at the bottom. Her birthmark represents who she is.