||The Representation of Black Women: Sisterhood and Motherhood in Toni Morrison’s Sula and Love
||Department of English
Black women sisterhood
Black men’s dysfunction
|| In Sula and Love, Toni Morrison attempts to deal with and examine different themes, such as black sisterhood, motherhood, gender issues, racial problems, patriarchy and even slavery, in the black community from the 1920s to the 1990s. This thesis will focus on black sisterhood, motherhood, and black men’s dysfunction as well as malfunctioning, absent father.
In chapter one, I attempt to examine and question the possibility of black sisterhood and solidarity among black women in the black community. Growing up in the different family backgrounds, the sisterhood between Sula and Nel is formed when they first meet each other. However, later in this novel, we can find that the values Sula sticks to are completely different from Nel; the former is unconventional, unique, and independent, while the latter follows the old traditions in the Bottom community, such as getting married, giving birth, and taking care of the family.
In chapter two, I put my main focus on the possibility of black sisterhood between Christine and Heed. The two main characters come from different social classes, but their attraction to each other helps them cross the barrier of class to form black sisterhood. Due to the marriage between Bill Cosey and Heed, the sisterhood between Christine and Heed starts to crumble even though they are attracted by each other at their first meeting. In this novel, Toni Morrison depicts how the patriarchal figure destroys the black sisterhood between Heed and Christine by marrying Heed.
In chapter three, my main argument focuses on the malfunctioning absent father, and incompetent as well as irresponsible black men in the black community. In Sula and Love, Toni Morrison provides us with different images of black men. In Sula, the black men in the Bottom community fail to be the economic providers and become malfunctioning absent father. Since black men fail to get the decent jobs to show their capability and masculinity, they seem to be castrated and become incompetent in their family. In Love, we can argue that the author continues to consider the issues of gender and race and their impact on how women can or cannot form a strong sense of independence, and how their self-identities are damaged due to social influences.
Due to the various roles of black men, black women also have to change their roles as well in their
family. It seems that Toni Morrison provides us with the solution or the alternative to help black women
overcome their predicament and the paternal/patriarchal authority; that is, the black sisterhood and the
solidarity among all black women.
Chapter One: Black Sisterhood, Ambivalent Motherhood and Difference in Sula......12
Chapter Two: Disrupted Sisterhood and Im/possible Solidarity in Love......30
Chapter Three: Malfunctioning masculinity in Sula and Love..............48
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