As we read the novel, I think we took most notice of how Nel benefited from her relationship with Sula. However, after re-reading the following passage, knowing how the rest of the story unfolds, I have begun to realize that Nel also had much to offer Sula through their relationship.
“So when they met, first in those chocolate halls and next through the ropes of the swing, they felt the ease and comfort of old friends. Because each had discovered years before that they were neighter white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had set about creating something else to be. THeir meeting was fortunate, for it let them use each other to grow on.” (52)
While Sula offers Nel a chance to be bold, self- confident, and adventurous, Nel offers Sula emotional stability and the opportunity to learn how to care about others. As Sula leaves to go to college and then returns, she does many selfish things, including sleeping with Jude and sending Eva to the home for the elderly. However, when Sula is with Nel earlier in her life, she begins to demonstrate love and protectiveness over another person, such as when she cut her finger tip off in order to protect Nel from the bullies they encountered on their way home one day.