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by Toni Morrison

Sula Suffering Quotes

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

Quote #4

Eva lifted her tongue to the edge of her lip to stop the tears from running into her mouth. Rocking, rocking. Later she laid him down and looked at him a long time. (1921.47)

Eva and Plum suffer together when he is a child, and again here when he is an adult. Plum suffers from the ravages of war, and Eva suffers from having to watch her son disintegrate before her very eyes. Their relationship begins and ends with suffering.

Quote #5

When Mrs. Wright reminded Nel to pull her nose, she would do it enthusiastically but without the least hope in the world. (1922.17)

This quote seems somewhat insignificant, but it actually shows how, as a child, Nel suffers from her mother's ridiculous and hurtful expectations. Helene isn't satisfied with Nel as she is, so she instructs her on how to change her appearance. Nel seems to have internalized this, since she eagerly follows her mother's directions.

Quote #6

They did not hear all of what he said; they heard the one word, or phrase, or inflection that was for them the connection between the event and themselves. (1922.93)

The women at Chicken's funeral find a way to voice their suffering through his death. While they're certainly sad for his loss, what they respond to is the link between the suffering in their lives (their own deceased children, their own feelings of abandonment) and the suffering brought on by Chicken's passing.

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