Scapegoating In Toni Morrison's Sula

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The significance of scapegoating in Sula and its role in maintaining characters’ positive self-concepts. Scapegoating, although cruel, may be used to help an individual feel better about themselves. Toni Morrison’s novel, ‘Sula’ (1973), explores this concept through various characters, particularly the community, Nel and Sula. The following essay will examine why these characters find scapegoating significant, particularly in allowing themselves to maintain a favourable self-perception. This will be done through a psychological frame and will begin by exploring a definition of scapegoating in relation to a self-regard. Following such the essay will align Freudian defence mechanisms of the ego and Social Identity Theory’s intergroup dynamics to scapegoating and its role in a positive self-esteem. From a psychological scope, it is evident that the ego and identity may be influential factors to scapegoating. In such essence, scapegoating is defined as the process of putting blame on another individual in order to release oneself from undesirable responsibility or emotion (Rothschild, Landau and Molina 1). It is for this reason that many of the characters in “Sula” scapegoat. They find it significant because they use it to maintain a positive…show more content…
Freud’s mechanism of projection shows that characters such as Nel and Sula use scapegoating to release their undesirable characteristics onto others. Displacement, shows how the community scapegoat Sula in order to use a more feasible target to alleviate themselves and their self-esteems from aggravations. Furthermore, the Social Identity Theory shows how Sula’s threat to the community’s norms and identity leads to her becoming vulnerable to outgroup scapegoating and, lastly, the Social Identity Theory also shows how the community use scapegoating as a means to uplift their status and
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