I have been thinking more about the four birds that dropped dead coincidentally at the time of Sula’s return. Birds are often symbols of both freedom and goodness. Cranes often signify longevity, and owls wisdom. Doves are signs of peace, promise, and love. So what can we conclude about robins?
Considering that myths have instilled the idea that the sight of a robin confirms the start of spring, it seems ironic that the creatures would die in Sula. Spring signifies the beginning to life and motion. Yet, I have heard about the robin’s common link to death. Superstitions suggest that they are bad omens. If entering a home, for instance, they mark the death of a family member.
Taking their associations aside, I thought of the birds’ death as a metaphor for the loss of spirit and hope in Sula. My initial view of her was that she is naïve yet promising but the character progression and turn of events have led me to think of her as a darker, almost sinister being.
Death, according to Toni Morrison, is not accidental, but deliberate (90). So why did fate, evil, or perhaps goodness choose to take the lives of the birds? What do you guys think?