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by Toni Morrison

Sula Compassion and Forgiveness Quotes

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

Quote #4

It hit her like a sledge hammer, and it was then that she knew what to feel. A liquid trail of hate flooded her chest. Knowing that she would hate him long and well filled her with pleasant anticipation. (1921.18-4.19)

When BoyBoy visits Eva, she's not sure how she will react. When he leaves with his other woman, she knows that what she will never feel is forgiveness, and this pleases her. She will hang on to her hatred of him as a way to comfort herself. Forgiveness simply wouldn't sustain her the way hatred will.

Quote #5

Eva looked at Sula pretty much the same way she had looked at BoyBoy that time when he returned after he'd left her without a dime or a prospect of one. (1937.8)

Eva's unwillingness to forgive extends to her granddaughter. She equates Sula's long absence with her husband's abandonment, even though the two are completely different. But instead of the comfort she gets from not forgiving BoyBoy, Eva just seems bitter here. Her anger is misdirected in that she doesn't draw any distinctions between the people she feels have wronged her.

Quote #6

I heard you was sick. Anything I can do for you? (1940.1)

These are the first words Nel utters to Sula after the affair with Jude. Although she may be saying them out of a sense of duty, she still shows compassion for her. She doesn't just ask her how she's doing; she asks her what she can to do help her. And while she may not have forgiven Sula, her willingness to lend her a hand shows that she still has compassion for her.

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