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Sula Race Quotes

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

Quote #4

He would have left him there but noticed that it was a child, not an old black man, as it first appeared . . . (1922.86)

There is a complete disregard for humanity in the bargeman's racism. Had Chicken not been a child he would have been left in the river to rot, his family never knowing where he was or what happened to him.

Quote #5

"Hey Jude. What you know good?" "White man running it – nothing good." (1937.171-8.172)

After facing years of discrimination, Jude has given up – he no longer believes that working for a white man will benefit him. This shows us how years of enduring racism can profoundly alter a person's worldview.

Quote #6

Jude and Nel were laughing, he saying, "Well, if that's the only way they got to show it – cut off my balls and throw me in jail – I'd just as soon they left me alone." (1937.177)

Jude is responding to Sula's declaration that black men are the "envy of the world" (1937.176). In doing so he articulates the very stereotypes that she offers as evidence of this envy: that black men are rapists, that their sexual appetites need to be controlled, that they don't support their children. Jude can laugh about it because he's with Sula and Nel, but the fact is that all three of them know these are the prejudices Jude must face.

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