I found that one of the most powerful passages in all of Sula was towards the beginning of the book, soon after Nel meets Rochelle. Sula speaks to herself (in the presence of Nel) saying, “I’m me… Me… I’m me. I’m not their daughter. I’m not Nel. I’m me. Me… Me” (28). The narrator points out that, “Each time she said the word me there was a gathering in her like power, like joy, like fear.”
By the end of the novel, I had a heightened respect for Sula because I realized that she not only defied the standards of society (which takes great strength in itself) but accepted herself, even from the very beginning as we find out, for who she is and what she loves. It is one thing to be rebellious, and another to have purpose and dignity in doing the unexpected.
Then by looking at this passage, I have come to the conclusion that if Sula were ever about one thing, it would be the importance of self-empowerment and sufficiency – not the mere defiance of societal norms. Sula perfectly exhibits the power of her self-approval.
I’ve changed my mind about her. Her lack of action and mistakes don’t maker her evil. Instead, her strength makes her wonderful, just as she once asked Jesus to be (29).