Inversion in "Sula" Book Review by Nicky

Inversion in "Sula"
An exploration of the theme of inversion in Toni Morrison's "Sula".
# 147903 | 1,335 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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This paper discusses how tradition loses its value in Toni Morrison's novel, "Sula" with the exploration of inversion with three generations of women. While women are generally seen as maternal caregivers for the family and men are seen as loving protectors, the opposite is portrayed in the novel. The paper examines how the roles of women are reversed in "Sula", exposing the trap that typical social constraints can cause for individuals that are simply not meant to live the typical life. It looks at how Sula learns from her mother that she does not have to bend to the will of others and she learns on her own that she might just be better off when she lives to please herself and Hannah is partially responsible for Sula's development because she is not the typical mother. In addition, Eva is not typical in that while she does what she must for her family, she is not the caring, maternal figure that many might think she should be. The paper concludes that inversion is significant in "Sula" because Morrison reveals how the typical family structure is not so typical anymore and this type of behavior has been going on for some time.

From the Paper:

"We must begin with Sula, as she is the result of two generations of the type of role inversion worth exploring in the novel. Sula is much like her mother in that she is not afraid to explore her sexuality regardless of what others might be saying about her. She is not living by the accepted roles for women because she teaches Sula that "sex was pleasant and frequent, but otherwise unremarkable" (Morrison 44). Brown-Guillory maintains that Sula "registers a radically different desire" (Brown-Guillory 233) when developing a role for herself. Sula "emerges as an imaginative, independent, self-assured creature who does not feel compelled to please anybody else" (233). It is interesting that Brown-Guillory should use the word "creature' to describe Sula's character. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brown-Guillory, Elizabeth. Women of Color. Austin: University of Texas Press. 1996.
  • Eckard, Paula Gallant. Maternal body and Voice in Toni Morrison, Bobbie Ann Mason, and Lee Smith. Columbia: University of Missouri Press 2002.
  • Morrison, Toni. Sula. New York: Plume Books. 1973.
  • Ray, Mohit Kumar. Studies In Women Writers In English. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors. 2005.
  • Reed, John K. A Turbulent Voyage: Readings in African-American Studies. Landham: Rowman and Litlefield. 2000.

Cite this Book Review:

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Inversion in "Sula" (2011, August 08) Retrieved September 24, 2023, from

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