Toni Morrison's Sula A Multi Faceted Interpretation Of Sula

571 words - 2 pages

A Multi-faceted Interpretation of Sula        

In The Apocalypse in African-American Fiction, Maxine Lavon Montgomery weaves a multi-faceted interpretation of Toni Morrison's Sula. Montgomery submits, "drawing upon an African cosmological system, Morrison maintains that although life in modern America is chaotic, it is possible to escape life in the West and recover the time of the black community's non-Western beginnings" (74). Though Montgomery makes a highly detailed argument advancing several significant ideas that are well worth acknowledging, her final conclusions exceed what can be clearly supported in Sula.

 

Montgomery's first major heading of "Modern Chaos and Ancient Paradigms" (75) sketches her belief that "natural disasters, unexpected deaths, and continued racist oppression serve as bitter reminders of the near-tragic dimensions of life, for to be black in America is to experience calamity as an ever-present reality, to live on the brink of apocalypse" (75). She supports this statement with the origins of the Bottom, the significance of language, laughter, oppression, and ritual within the life of its inhabitants. The connection of "men are all ... figuratively emasculated by a society whose tokens of manhood-wealth, prestige, and political power-are reserved for white males" (78) rings true and worthy of attention. Montgomery continues with Eva representing "spiritual knowledge, omniscience" (79) who willingly sacrifices Plum for his own good. Montgomery asserts that it is the "community's collective unconscious, then, the apocalypse, an event prefigured by the many deaths and disasters, endings and beginnings, is indeed a hopeful affair signaling the recovery of a lost past" (79). I remain unconvinced that the idea of death is "the recovery of a lost past" (79) but reflects more of a cleansing for the presently...

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