by Toni Morrison
Challenges & Opportunities
Available to teachers only as part of the Teaching Sula Teacher Pass
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Sample of Challenges & Opportunities
There isn't any way around it – like the rest of Toni Morrison's novels, Sula is difficult. Full of metaphors, analogies, imagery, and symbolism (in other words, all the literary devices you can think of for a novel), Sula can a pose a challenge for any adult reader. We can thus only imagine what a young student might be thinking while reading Morrison's novel. But, with effort, reading a Morrison novel can reap major rewards.
Sex and Romance
Even though Morrison's novel can definitely be racy, the graphic nature of the book can be one of the better hooks for students. Morrison makes sex and romance both complicated (Nel's marriage to adulterous Jude) and simple (Hannah's role as the town's happy-go-lucky loose woman). The effect is overall surprisingly realistic: the feelings that the characters experience are not all that different from any woman's or any man's (or, for that matter, any girl's or any boy's). Moreover, the characters offer a way of opening up a discussion about stereotypes: what should a woman or a man act like in a relationship? What do we expect from women and men when it comes to sex? These questions will undoubtedly cause the class to debate the various issues surrounding gender stereotypes. Luckily enough, Morrison provides characters, especially female ones, who flip stereotypes around in startling ways (the entire Peace family is anything but peaceful when it comes to maintaining the town's status quo).