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Jude And Ajax: Drawing A Picture Of Masculinity In Sula

862 words - 4 pages

A foil character in literature is a character that shows opposite characteristics, in order to emphasize qualities of the other character. In Toni Morrison’s novel Sula, we see several examples of character foils. The main characters, Sula and Nel are foils of the other, two opposite halves that together make a whole. In another example, we have another set of foil characters; characters that are so different that together they tell what it is to be a man, and what it is to not be a man. Despite being secondary characters in the novel, when comparing and contrasting the characters of Jude and Ajax, a picture of the definition of masculinity is drawn in Toni Morrison’s book Sula.
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This abandonment proves that Jude is not a man who will stand by the commitments that he has made and is not a man at all.
In contrast Ajax, although not without flaws, is more of a masculine figure. He does not need a woman or a job to define who he is as a man. He loves and respects his mother, and this taught him to be nice to women, although he does not care about them on more than a superficial level. Ajax does not seek commitment from any of the women he sees. His interest in Sula is brought on by curiosity: “So when his curiosity was high enough he picked two bottles of milk off the porch of some white family and went to see her, suspecting that this was perhaps the only other woman he knew whose life was her own, who could deal with life efficiently, and who was not interested in nailing him” (127). This is also the way Ajax sees himself. He is not interested in settling down, and he is able to deal with his own life. Unlike Jude, who needs a submissive woman in order to feel like a man or to feel complete, Ajax treats Sula like she is an equal: “Her real pleasure was the fact that he talked to her. They had genuine conversations. He did not speak down to her or at her” (128). In one respect, both Jude and Ajax do not desire women who want...

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