Thursday, August 06, 2020

"Something else to be" for Sula and Nel in Toni Morrison's "Sula"

As children, Sula Peace and Nel Wright in Toni Morrison's Sula find common ground in their self-knowledge: "Because [...] they were neither white nor male, and [...] all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had set about creating something else to be." White and male individuality may enable the positive goals of "freedom and triumph", but the generic conventionality of such stories limits such individuality. In turn, the social conventions preventing black women in Morrison from realizing conventional individuality force them to "create something else" that, in its namelessness, makes them more singular than those otherwise enabled by the white and male privilege created by structural racism and misogyny. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 6 August)

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