Toni Morrison's Sula Research Paper

2084 Words9 Pages

The oral tradition has served as a fundamental vehicle for “gettin’ ovuh.” That tradition preserves the African American heritage and reflects the collective spirit of the race through song, story, folk sayings, and rich verbal interplay among everyday people. Lessons and precepts about life and survivals are handed down from generation to generation. We rely on word of mouth for its rituals of cultural preservation. –Geneva Smitherman
African-American folklore is perhaps the basis for many African-American literary works. In a country where as late as the 1860’s there were laws prohibiting the teaching of slaves, it was essential for the oral tradition to carry the values the group considered significant. African- American folklore has since been taken to new levels and forms. Writers have adopted these themes and have fit them into contemporary times. Most recently author Toni Morrison has taken African- American folklore themes and adapted them into fictional literature in her novels. Using the narrative as a ruse, Toni Morrison, author of Sula, confronts issues of culture in a unique manner balancing both artistic and folk elements. Through the act of “telling” she …show more content…

The belief of good versus evil dates back many centuries. The people of the Bottom have always acknowledged evil within the world. While they felt that evil must be avoided, they allowed the evil to run its course. “The purpose of evil was to survive it and they determined to survive floods, white people, tuberculosis, famine, and ignorance (Sula 90). In an interview with Toni Morrison, Morrison comments on her use of evil in Sula. “Now I was certainly very much interested in the question of evil in Sula- in fact, that’s what it was all about”(Childress 8). Morrison uses the folklore tradition to show how the black race accepts evil unlike the white race. Morrison goes on to

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