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Black Feminist Study on Toni Morrison’s Sula

Author LuoCuiLi
Tutor MaLiLi
School Hebei Normal
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords oppressions rebellion liberation black women images
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
Downloads 151
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Sula is interpreted as a feminist novel by many critics. Feminism first appeared in 1880 which means women’s movements for obtaining legal, political and familial right with men. Black feminism mainly studies the issues of self-consciousness and self-identity of black women who are caught in a dilemma and tries to provide methods to help black women achieve self-realization. In the long history, black women’s double identity, that is, they are both black and women, makes them live under multiple oppressions.A number of outstanding female writers are deeply concerned with black women’s sufferings thus try to find a reasonable way for their freedom and independence. Toni Morrison is a great one of them who is the only black female writer that is granted the Nobel Prize for literature since 1901. As an African-American woman, Morrison has great advantages to study the black women. In many of her literary works, she consciously shows us the black women’s hardships, meanwhile, she pays close attention to the existence and development of black people, even all the human beings. What Morrison concerns in literary works is consistent with the aim of black feminism. Written in 1969, Sula makes a milestone in Toni Morrison’s writing career due to its unique creative approach and the distinctive characterization of three black women.This thesis intends to make an attempt to study it from the perspective of black feminism and examine three black women’s (Eva, Sula and Nel )unusual rebellious experiences to reveal their hardships in finding self-identity and achieving self-realization.These three women represents different types of female images respectively . Eva is the representative of old generation of black females who, to some degree, acts as the spiritual guide. Sula is a lonely practitioner who rebels against all tradition in the community. Due to her extreme way of searching for her freedom and happiness, her rebellious journey ends in failure and finally she dies lonely. Nel is the successor of black female rebel. Sula’s behaviors influence Nel deeply and she decides to follow Sula to achieve self-realization in a reasonable way.This thesis is divided into five parts: the first part serves as an introduction to Toni Morrison including her life experiences, her works, and some literature review on her works, the definition of feminism , the background for it,the development of black feminism,and the major theorists of this school and their unique viewpoints and great contributions to the development of black feminism. Chapter one explores the black women’s triple oppressions in the society which interact with one another to form black women’s sufferings. Chapter two analyses the three females’character and their rebellious behaviors under suppression. Chapter three focuses on exploration of ways for black women’s quest for liberation. Part five is the conclusion of this thesis.This thesis expects to shed meaningful light on the study of this novel and provide ways for black women’s development. By subverting the traditional black female images and portraying their determination and virtue, Morrison encourages all black people to search for their own happiness in a brave manner.

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