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by Toni Morrison

Sula Betrayal Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Year.Paragraph)

Quote #4

The sheriff said whyn't he throw it on back into the water. The bargeman said he never shoulda taken it out in the first place. (1922.87)

We see a different type of betrayal here: of humanity betraying itself. The sheriff and the bargeman are so blinded by racism that they fail to realize they're talking about a fellow human being, and someone's child.

Quote #5

"I done everything I could to make him leave me an go on and live and be a man but he wouldn't and I had to keep him out so I just thought of a way he could die like a man not all scrunched up inside my womb, but like a man." (1922.31)

Who betrays whom in this passage? It's easy for us to say that Eva betrays Plum by killing him, but is it possible that Plum betrays Eva too? After the hardships she endured to keep her children alive and healthy, and after raising Plum on her own to get him ready to go out into the world, he returns a drug addict on the verge of death. In a way, he has betrayed her by destroying a life she worked so hard to sustain.

Quote #6

There was clearly a demand for space. The priority of the violence earned Shadrack his release, $217 in cash, a full suit of clothes and copies of very official-looking papers. (1919.11)

Shadrack is betrayed by the government here. As soon as he leaves the hospital we can tell that he is still in need of psychiatric care, that he's not ready to face the world after the war. But he fails to get this care because of concerns about money and space.

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