Today in class we brought up the nature of Nel and Sula’s friendship… and though it’s hard to pinpoint Morrison’s intended relationship I think we can all agree that Nel and Sula aren’t engaged in a superficial friendship. There is something so intrinsically connected and dependent about their friendship that it seems to defy the common “friendship” behavior we see. While I don’t think it’s an overtly Lesbian novel, the sentiment behind their relationship possesses the sexuality, and mutual reliance of a deeply involved romantic relationship. Through Sula Toni Morrison illustrates the different aspects, consequences, and products of love itself (the mother to child love), and I felt that Sula and Nel’s friendship is another expression of love.
There’s a quote on p. 52 about Nel and Sula:
“Because each had discovered years before that they were neither 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. Daughters of distant mothers and incomprehensible fathers (Sula’s because he was dead; Nel’s because he wasn’t), they found in each other’s eyes the intimacy they were looking for”
This quote seems to embody the essence of their connection. The very involved diction (“each other” “grow on” “eyes” “intimacy”) illustrate the void that each fills for the other. That though some may view Nel and Sula’s relationship as mere “friendship” in the artificial sense of the word- Morrison seems to urge a more complex insight. That their friendship is camaraderie, mutual comprehension, intimacy, and love with its every consequence.
Of course we haven’t finished the book…so all that is thus far a hypothesis 🙂