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Sula Theme of Race

Like gender, race informs much of Sula, and we get subtle and not-so-subtle reminders that race determines much about a person's opportunities and access to basic needs. Many of the characters who face racism and discrimination are understandably angry. But race also binds communities together and creates a shared sense of identity, culture, and tradition.

Questions About Race

  1. Are racial concerns somehow linked to concerns about gender in the novel?
  2. What does it mean that Tar Baby is one of the few whites to interact with the black residents of the Bottom?
  3. Is racism ultimately what leads to the death of so many of the townspeople at the end of the novel?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

We cannot separate race from gender in Sula; they influence each other in profound ways.

The characters in Sula are more defined by their race than by their gender.

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