Study Guide

Sula Writing Style

By Toni Morrison

Writing Style

Straightforward, Purposeful

Morrison doesn't mince words, and she doesn't bury the important messages and events in overinflated, difficult language. While the ideas in the novel aren't simple, Morrison uses simple, meaningful words to articulate them. Let's take a look at the passage when Nel first sees Sula and Jude together:

But they had been down on all fours naked, not touching except their lips right down there on the floor where the tie is pointing to, on all fours like (uh huh, go on, say it) like dogs. (1937.180)

Morrison creates sentences that mirror the way we think. She interrupts a train of thought with a short aside, and she uses the simplest, most descriptive words she can to reflect as faithfully as possible how these characters might respond to a given situation. Her sentences are often short and compact: "Accompanied by a plague of robins, Sula came back to Medallion" (1937.1), and she packs a lot of meaning into them without including anything extraneous.