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Abstract: This paper portrays female masculinity and the position of black women in Toni Morrison's Sula Women in this novel reconstruct their selfhood through rebelling on social norms and traditions. In their resistance, they act more like men than women. They work to create their selfhood and identity through rejection of the conventional gender roles, which women play in the community.
Morrison's women contradict the stereotypes of black women in African American fiction. This paper records the fortunes of black women in different matriarchal environments inside black society. Keywords: Selfhood, rebellion, black feminism, discrimination. The black women in Morrison's Sula are different from submissive and easy- controlled black women who are oppressed by the black community in general and Women that want to fuck in Beaulieu white males in particular.
Sula, the central figure of the novel, is a black woman who suffers at hands of whites and blacks. She rejects the traditional norms ascribed to women in society. Therefore; Morrison attempts to show the individuality of an African-American woman struggling for identity.
Devika Rani observes that Sula is different from other controlled black women in her society in that she "challenges the social norms that deny a woman her individual rights" p. Sumana points out that:. Sula opens up new literally and critical option not only for the study of the text by African-American women but for African-American literary study more generally. She revolted against whatever is societal and restricted, therefore; she loses her social liberation. She intends to assert her identity by rebelling on her community.
Sula works very hard to escape all the traditionalism related to women. Gillespie and Kubitschek observe that this novel "offers a view of female psychological development that defies traditional male-centred interpretations of female development and calls out for an expansion of the woman-centred paradigm" p. Sula gains her strength from defying all conventional values and beliefs in her community.
In order to see the different aspects of the world, Sula has to be different and unconventional. She is different in the sense that she is true to herself. She refuses to be blindly obedient and submissive to the needs of her community. Morrison says:.
I always thought of Sula as quintessentially black, metaphysically black, if you will, which is not melanin and certainly not unquestioning fidelity to the tribe. She is new world black and new world woman extracting choice from choicelessness, responding inventively to found things. Morrison,p. She does not care if people look at her as an outsider. She uses men as she likes. After she has sex with them, she disregards them and continues her life normally.
She rejects the stereotypical roles ased to black women. Men are afraid of her evil and they describe her as a devil. Morrison comments:. Once the source of their personal misfortune was identified, they had left to protect and love one another. They began to cherish their husbands and wives, protect their children, repair their homes and in general band together against the devil in their midst.
By rejecting Sula people in her community unite together against her evil doings. She unifies her community by objectifying its danger.
People in her society do not hastate to label her evil even though they know quite well that evil are part of human nature. By treating her grandmother violently, other women in her community start treating their children differently with love and compassion for fear of being treated like Sula's grandmother.
Morrison stats:. It was like getting the use of an eye back, having a cataract removed. Her old friend had come home. Sula never competed; she simply helped others define themselves. Other people seemed to turn their volume on … when Sula was in the room p. For her, if women do not revolt against the injustice and oppression they would be like dead living things.
Her family dislikes her because of the unlimited freedom she has. She is the kind of woman who affirms her place strongly in her society and gains the power of her invented freedom. Women at her time are living brutally and dreadfully waiting for their final doom. Without enough strength, she will not be able to break the wall of the convention. She has no desire for material things and she does not want to have a privileged place in her society. The only thing she desires is to be a woman who can guide other oppressed black women and help them to resist and challenge the social domination of oppressive male rule.
Revolting on their traditions and values symbolizes the black woman's search for self- affirmation in the patriarchal society. There are many examples of discrimination and racism in the novel. One example is describing the place the blacks are living in as the Bottoms. This description shows the lack of sympathy and concern of the white people towards the blacks: Women that want to fuck in Beaulieu nigger got the hilly land, where planting was backbreaking, where the soil slid down and washed away the seeds and where the wind lingered all through the winter.
She lives according to her principles refusing anyone controlling her wishes. She tells Nel: "I got my mind. And what goes on in it. She inherits her courage and rebellious nature from her grandmother, Eva, who is the most important and influential person in the family, and she survives alone when she is deserted by her husband.
Eva is a complex individual who is forced to work so hard to save her children:. After five years of a sad and disgruntled marriage BoyBoy took of. During the time they were together he was very much preoccupied with other women and not home much. He did whatever he could that he liked, and he liked womanizing best, drinking second, and abusing Eva third Morrison's Sula, p. She refuses to surrender, and she thinks that life continues with and without the existence of men. She decides Women that want to fuck in Beaulieu survive to save her children from starvation and death.
Eva's matriarchal personality makes people respect her. She is a tough woman who bears the responsibility alone when her husband deserted her. She enjoys independence and freedom other women do not have. She is not responsible for emasculating her husband who left the house deserting his wife and children. In fact, she is unduly blamed and stereotyped for something outside her sphere of influence. Eva's rebellious nature is not the reason behind her husband abandoning the family but he is a self-interested man who does not have the courage to bear the responsibility of taking care of his family.
Eva is an independent woman who gains strength from her tough experiences in the absence of the male member. People talk that Eva intentionally placed her leg on the railway track to assert the insurance money to assist her children from painful starvation. Eva stands as an example of how African American woman survives despite repression, prejudice or limitations in life and still tolerate suffering and pain. Eva loves her family to the point that makes her ready to sacrifice anything and everything for them. When Eva sees that her son, Plumsinks into addiction and is unable to save him from sinking further she takes a dramatic decision to relieve him from his addiction by killing him.
She burns him in his sleep. Out of love, she saves him from his misery. She thinks that death is better than addiction. What makes Eva stronger is her hatred for her irresponsible husband. It is this hatred that keeps her alive. She is not emotionally and mentally sad after his sudden departure. It was man love that Eva bequeathed to her daughters. Probably, people said, because there were no men in the house, no men to run it.
But actually, that was not true. He Peace women simply loved maleness, for its own sake". Morrison, Sula Despite her being an old and crippled lady, she is also having many sexual relationships with men visiting her house. Morrison describes her as having "a regular flock of gentleman callers" Morrison's Sula, p. She does not make love to them, but she has a great deal of fun in their company.
She raises her children by herself, but not out of choice. A woman choosing to be alone is improper for Eva. Hannah teaches Sula to regard sex as "pleasant and frequent, but otherwise unremarkable" Morrison's Sula, p. Many of Hannah's qualities emerge in Sula as an adult. Perhaps this is a commentary on the legacy that mothers pass onto their daughters.
Hanna also rebels on the traditional norms and principles in the society because she does not have any emotional engagement. Ever since her husband died Hanna never indulge in a real relationship with a man. In fact, "She would fuck practically anything. She was disliked by other good women in town. Hannah's sexual relationships are physical. She is not selfless. She thinks of herself as a woman when she le the men of the Bottom to her bed. Her relationships are best described as: "sweet, low and guilelessWomen that want to fuck in Beaulieu
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