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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Birds are everywhere in Sula, and they are often associated with specific characters. When we meet Rochelle, she wears a "canary-yellow dress" and has the "glare of a canary" (1920.40-3.41). And we already know that a "plague of robins" (1937.1) arrives in Medallion just before Sula does. Birds invoke the idea of flight, which makes sense when we consider that Cecile and Sula both flee at some point in the story. And robins are often associated with the spring, the season of rebirth and growth. Although Sula brings with her a lot of pain and destruction, we learn that her presence also generates a renewed sense of purpose in the Bottom, even if it is directed against her.

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