Sula

The Societal Impact of Nonconformity in Sula 12th Grade

Toni Morrison’s Sula celebrates liberation from society’s constraints on individuality and self-discovery, and illustrates the negative impact of conformity. The novel follows the lives of several members of The Bottom’s community who refuse to relinquish their identities to fit the expectations of how a certain race or gender should act and the impact it has on their lives and their society. This society, influenced by the 1900’s racial segregation in America, enforces specific standards, and ostracizes whoever defies the cultural norm. Although certain characters choose to retain individuality and isolate themselves, they never fully establish their identities and desperately search for something in order to do so. The characters cling to certain aspects of their lives to create a sense of self, only to lose both it and themselves, henceforth forced to live aimlessly. Lynn Nordin’s essay “‘My Lonely Is Mine’ Loss and Identity in Toni Morrison’s Sula” discusses both the negative and positive impact of loss on characters’ identities in the novel. Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead reflects a similar notion, as the title character’s pointlessly stumble through the play trying to discover their purpose, but...

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