Study Guide

Sula Pride

By Toni Morrison


Pride is presented as both positive and destructive in Sula. The pride of some of the women characters, for example, is what makes them so strong and independent. But it also creates conflict when it gets in the way of empathy or prevents characters from admitting fault and taking responsibility for their own actions. Pride intersects with issues of gender in that the women who display the most pride (as in willfulness), are accused of not doing what is socially expected of them.

Questions About Pride

  1. Is Sula's greatest flaw her pride?
  2. Is there a sense that Sula and Nel are proud of each other?
  3. Does the novel make a distinction between the quality of pride in men women?

Chew on This

We should applaud the women who display pride in the novel. They are resisting the restrictions of traditional gender roles.

Pride ultimately destroys the characters who cling to it too intensely. They fail to experience any real remorse for the pain their pride might cause.