by Toni Morrison
Sula Gender Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Year.Paragraph)
Ajax was very nice to his women. His women, of course, knew it, and it provoked them into murderous battles over him in the streets. (1939.58)
Are stereotypes about women being perpetuated here? The idea that these women belong to Ajax reflects a stereotypical gender dynamic in which women are the property of men. The fact that the women fight each other instead of Ajax seems pretty stereotypical, too.
You can't do it all. You a woman and a colored woman at that. You can't act like a man. You can't be walking around all independent-like, doing whatever you like, taking whatever you want, leaving what you don't. (1940.9)
This passage tells us some things about both men and women. We learn that Sula is doubly oppressed because she is a woman of color. And we also learn that Nel sees men as greedy, selfish, and careless. Jude's departure from her life has profoundly impacted her opinion of the opposite sex.
Then I really would act like what you call a man. Every man I ever knew left his children. (1940.44)
Stereotypes aren't limited to women. Sula articulates a common stereotype about men: that they can't or won't stick around to raise their kids. This is certainly the case for the men in this novel.