by Toni Morrison
Sula Betrayal Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Year.Paragraph)
Don't talk to me about no burning. You watched your own mamma. You crazy roach! You the one who should have been burnt. (1937.38)
Eva betrays Sula by failing to recognize or admit that Hannah was a neglectful mother. By declaring that Sula is the one who should have died, she willfully forgets the lonely and isolated childhood her granddaughter had to endure.
But it was the men who gave her the final label, who fingerprinted her for all time. . . . They said that Sula slept with white men. (1939.2)
No one knows for sure if Sula sleeps with white men, and no one really cares. The men in the Bottom cast her out forever by suggesting that Sula has somehow betrayed her race. But they themselves have betrayed her by giving her, fairly or unfairly, a label she can never recover from.
When she had come back home, social conversation was impossible for her because she could not lie. (1939.93)
We often think of betrayal in big terms: adultery, murder, secrets that ruin lives. And while Sula clearly engages in such acts of betrayal (whether intentionally or not), she is incapable of engaging in the small betrayals that most of us commit from time to time. She can't pretend that the women in the Bottom have aged well or that she cares about the things they talk about. So rather than being dishonest, she simply accepts her isolation.