Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sula by Toni Morrison-Blog Post One

Please post after reading 1919 and 1920.  Consider commenting on:
*Passages that you had a strong reaction to
*Morrison's writing style
*Morrison's attitude toward war/ WWI
Use quotes from the novel where possible.  Comment on a classmate's post.


  1. I think Morrison's writing style is very unique, and a bit confusing. She continlually goes back and forth between characters, and shows the perspective of each on tha same events. On page 21 she says "She saw their closed faces, their locked eyes, and turned for compassion to the grey eyes of the conductor...Then, for no earthly reason, at least no reason that anybody could understand, certainly no reason that Nel understood then or later, she smiled." She switched from Helene to Nel. She uses a lot of description as well like "closed faces" and "locked eyes.

    Gretchen Per 5

  2. I think Morrison's writing style (showing the same situation from the perspectives of multiple characters) allows her to paint a situation in more nuanced shades than if the same setting was from the perspective of one character.

    Nel's bedroom speech was especially powerful. By reassuring herself that she is "me," not defined by her mother or her race, the scene memorably establishes what her character stands for.

    Morrison is equally skilled at depicting the horrors of war, both visceral and psychological. There are parallels to be drawn between how Shadrack copes with being back home and the man who was "taking no directions from the brain".

    Her descriptions of "locked eyes" and "closed faces" are very poetic.

    Luke S.
    Period 6

  3. 1.) There were a couple things in these two chapters that confused me. The first thing had to do with the young soldier’s hands. I assume that since he was in a hospital and just woke up that he had a brain trauma and he doesn’t realize who he is. I however, don’t know how this relates to how his hands seem larger than normal. Another thing that confused me was when Nel was describing how people were reacting to her mother’s smile. “No change in expression of the eyes, but a hard wetness that veiled them as they looked at the stretch of her mother’s foolish smile.”(22) Another thing that was confusing was when Nel was saying that her mother was custard underneath this façade she had up. I think this relates how the white conductor‘s manner made her mom turn to jelly.

    Jessica C. Period 6

  4. Overall, I find very little interest in this book and currently, find her writing style to be quite annoying. I understand her technique with including different perspectives and showing different character thoughts per situation. However, this is very annoying. She can never get to the point and often it seems that there isn’t a point. It takes a page and a half to explain that a new golf course will be built in Bottom. Now she is trying to explain the setting and time period, but this has no connection to the wrecking ball that would do the knocking.
    Next, Morrison has a very negative attitude towards WWI, and war in general. She makes it seem ten times worse than it already is. Throughout her first chapters, the people she mentioned that came home from war all seemed to be deathly ill and had the worse effects of the war. Also, when she explained war, someone was always getting shot or killed and the war seemed second to Hell. War is bad, but especially for the mood of the book, some positive events could have been mentioned.

    Ryan H. Period 5

  5. First, I noticed that Morrison has a really unique form of writing that makes things very confusing! She doesn't just tell you who someone is or where they are and continuosly adds characters and stories. On the other hand, she is very descriptive and includes a lot of details so you could almost visualize the scene. Morrison also seems to be very negative toward the war and it shows in her writing. I don't think she should have been so biast about the war. Finally, I was very confused with the soldiers on the train in 1920. I didn't understand why Nel couldn't look at them and I didn't understand why their faces changed to "marble."

    What was it about the soldiers that made Nel so nervous? Why were the soldiers looking at them like that?

    Kelly L, P5

  6. Ryan-
    I totally agree with you on her style of writing and her view on the war. Although I didn't find her annoying, I do think she is confusing and hard to understand. I also agree with you on her war viewpoints. Like you, I wish she included good things during that time.

    Kelly L, P5

  7. Kelly,
    I absolutely agree with your thoughts on Morrison's writing. It was can be so vivid and full of detail, but then the next part can be confusing and unclear. I was also confused about the train scene and why Nel couldn't look at them. I feel like it has to do with how Nel's mom smiled at the conductor and those men somehow lost respect for her.

    ~Jessica C Period 6

  8. I found Shadrack to be a very disturbing character. I understand why Morrison included him in the novel, but I think that it was an over exaggeration of how veterans act when they come home from war. It is true that almost all veterans are changed by war, but not all of them are as crazy as Shadrack. I am curious to see if any conflicts arise with him in the proceeding chapters.

    I completely agree with your feelings about the book. The author’s style is quite annoying and I am having a hard time getting interested in the book.

    -Bob T period 6

  9. So I think that Morrison's writing style is very interesting. Her sentences have an odd way of flowing into each other, but it can become a bit confusing. After reading about Shadrack I felt a bit confused as to what happened to him. Did he forget who he was completely (He starts questioning why they're calling him "Private".) or was he just in shock over coming home from the war? And I wonder why he couldn't tell the cops that he'd just gotten out of the hospital and was feeling uneasy. Instead he just let them take him away to a jail cell

    At this point I'm unsure of how this story will be told, but then again it's only the first few chapters :3 so I won't judge it yet.

    Olivia N Period 6

  10. Aye yo, Jess,

    Those are some of the same events in the story that interested me. I really like your interpretation of the symbolism for the "custard" comparison.
    Another thing that I wondered about in that scene was Nel's mom's odd smile. The writing is kind of cryptic.

    -Olivia N period 6

  11. Some things that I thought were interesting was when Toni Morrison was describing The Bottom. It was where the African American people lived, yet it was the highest in the hills-"the bottom of heaven." Also, the fact that the people who lived in The Bottom can literally look down on the whites in the valley shows the irony of the time. I thought that the scene where Shadrack was afraid of his hands and walking away from the hospital may be symbollic, but I'm not sure of what yet. The whole idea of National Suicide Day sort of freaked me out, and it made me wonder if that day will come back later in the story. Like Luke, I found the scene where Nel is in her bedroom making the "Me" speech to be very powerful-it was as if Nel was discovering herself for the first time. Next, like Kelly, I thought her writing style was weird. She gave great detail in one part, but then switched off and wasn't clear at all in other parts; leaving the reader confused. Also, I agree with Bob in the sense that many veterans are changed by war, but not all necessarily as bad as Shadrack is.

    -Julianne M

  12. i think that Morrison's style of writin is very confusing. i feel like she likes to use a lot of descriptive words for like smaller sentences which confuses me a little. when i was reading about the solider Shadrack i was a little confused on what was happening. like i could grasp that he had the illusion that his hands were changing but she writes it in a way that it is confusing to see what she's getting at all together whereas some others are describing a situation or onject and you could understand it completely. and it was also really unclear to me what tyoe of emergency facility he was in.

    Lauren N Period 5

  13. Dear Olivia
    i totally understand what you mean! like that was the same thing i was thinking when i was reading.And to kind of touch on your question someone in my class suggested PTSD and i think that was were Morrison was headed with the hand thing but its just a guess becuase i am as cofused as you.

    Lauren N Period 5

  14. I think Morrison did a good job depicting what life was like for Afeican Americans in the early 1900s. Many blacks had only recently earned their freedom and began to explore it. Southerners enacted Jim Crow Laws to prevent blacks from feeling like they were truly free, these laws helped segregate blacks and whites. When Nel and her mother go down South both are surprised by how different things were. They had to use a field for their bathroom and the people were not friendly at all.

    I agree with you! Morrison's style of writing is confusing but it helps make the novel all the more better! I especially like all if the descriptive details she uses.
    Madison B
    Period 5

  15. I thought that Toni Morrison had a very detailed, interesting writing style. I found her descriptions great because it is easy to paint a visual image of what is going on in the scene; in your head. However, sometimes she goes off on tangents to another subject and then tries to travel back to what she was saying before and that gets me a little confused, because for this book you need to be able to link things together. I thought that from the ptsd she gave shadrack, her view of the war is that it can be damaging and cold hearted. The fact that shadrack spent so much time there and then went to a recovery hospital for over a year shows that her main character faced a lot of hard times in the war and she seems strongly against it. National Suicide Day was kind of shocking to me, i found it weird that a man would make up such a day regardless of his disability, and I too found the train ride interesting, and nel to be a very powerful character, im curious to see how they play more into the story later on. I'm still wondering though, will shadrack ever regain his sanity?
    Roz Templeton period 5

  16. Ryan,
    i agree with you as well that this style of writing is not only confusing, but somewhat annoying. I wish that the sentences with thoughts of multiple characters and setting changes would be more straightforward.
    roz t. period 5

  17. While reading I had a strong reaction towards the bedroom scene where she depicts herself souly as herself and not defining herself as a black woman or by the face o her mother. Overall I believe that morrison's writting style while poetic, is really confusing because at points it seems lik they're talking in the present, and then a few seconds later shes writing in the past tense. Hurt my brain, just saying. When it comes to WW1 she shows the bloody and horrific points of war. She makes it seem more grusome than anyone would imagine. Stacy b per 6

  18. I think that the writing style is very confusing and not clear enough for a story during WWI. When I read 1919, it was very confusing to me when it went from the Private in the war to the hospital room so quickly. The fact that he thought his hands were growing was my favorite part because it shows the bad times of war and how it can mess you up. I believe that her writing style can be considered in a poetic way, but I feel as if it's not clear enough to me. The good thing about her writing is that she is very descriptive in a brief way about how tragic the war is. Honestly though, I don't think I can keep up with the fast moving pace of this book sometimes. I did, though, find the first chapter more interesting than the second chapter.

    Taylor St. John

  19. Ryan, I also agree with you and Roz about how annoying and confusing the writing style is. It's a little too jumpy for my taste.

    Taylor S P5

  20. With all due respect to Toni Morrison, reading this book makes me want to bash my head into a wall. The writing style is just simply boring. I feel like I never know what she is trying to say. When reading the back of the book, I thought I would really enjoy the concept. However, whenever I read, I can't tell what she's saying. Even so, I did find a quote that I really liked. On page 8, the author says "But stubbornly, taking to direction from the brain, the body of the headless soldieir ran on, with energy and grace, ignoring altogether the drip and slide of brain tissue down its back." After the reading, I was still confused about National Suicide day, and I felt like I still had so many questions to be answered. As the chapters progressed, I did enjoy the war scene slightly more than the first chapter.
    Amanda M. Period 5

    Roz, I find it interesting that you find Morrison's style so descriptive. I also agree with you on the absurdity of National Suicide Day.. I'm also very confused by it!

  21. I had a strong reaction to the part where Shadrack is looking at his tinplate divided into three triangle. One was white, blood tomatoes, and grayish-brown meat. I think this showed how people at the time were segregated because he says, “white, the red and the brown would stay where they were… not explode froth from their restricted zones”pg8. Morrison’s writing style makes me confused of what I’m reading, I feel like she goes back and forth a lot. Morrison seems like she is against the war because she wrote about how Shadrack had suffered from it.
    I’m also curious why he doesn’t say anything. I thought maybe he couldn’t talk right because of the shock from the war.

    Ashley P6

  22. Amanda,
    I think the book starts off slow, but will get better. The second main character was just introduced at the end of 1920, so hopefully the story will pick up after that. Also, National Suicide Day is about taking all the fear and worry about dying and worry and feel it only on that one day, for the whole day, rather than moments of worry every day that stick in your mind. Of course Shadrack is crazy, so this only makes sense to him.
    Gretchen G per 5

  23. I find Morrison's style of writing very fluent and poetic. In the introduction, she describes the black man vs. the white man in the early 1900's. A description of the pain that they endure without the white man noticing is shown in this passage, "The black people watching her would laugh and rub their knees, and it would be easy for the valley man to hear the laughter and not notice the adult pain rested somewhere underneath the eyelids..." I find her writing style intriguing because of the fluidity.

    To Amanda M,
    Connor is kinda mad at you. I think that this might be the best book that we have read in class all year. Give it a chance!

    Connor Mo

  24. Great posts so far! You've raised a lot of questions that show you are reading analytically. I would like to ask you what National Suicide Day, the triangled plates, the relief of the straightjacket, etc... may have in common??? What do you make of Helene's smile and the effect that it has on the soldiers on the train? Mrs. B

  25. Well for me the first chapter of most books are hard to get through and that's especially true for this one. To me it seems like an old Southern matriarch would be telling this story, so the way the book jumps from one character to another and the descriptions and the tone all make perfect sense to me.
    I think that Morrison's views on war is very partial in the sense that she only focuses on the gruesome parts of war like how "the body of the headless soldier ran on, with energy and grace, ignoring altogether the drip and slide of brain tissue down its back."
    Nel so far is my favorite character in this book. The fact that she's beginning to find herself as such a young age and not allowing her own mother define who she is, is very cool of her. I liked she said "'I'm me. I'm not their daughter. I'm not Nel. I'm me. Me.'"
    I liked your comments about "the Bottom". I thought it was really interesting how the blacks were on the hill looking down at the whites. The fact that the author decided to make it that way is very significant.
    Treasure p6

  26. I think that the book is odd but ok so far. I like how the author portrayed the soldier and the PTSD and all that can come from the war.
    Also the detail, and just the story, kind of already grabs me. I think it could be an ok book.
    I don't think the author liked the war at all and that's why they wrote the way they did.

    Sarah p6

  27. Morrison makes it quite obvious that she is opposed to war. Unlike The Things They Carried, no positive war stories are told. Whenever she writes about war, she talks about death and the most horrific parts of war. As many of my classmates have stated, her style of writing is confusing as she switches back and forth between characters. Because of this, the reader is forced to reread a few sentences in order to figure out who and what she is talking about. Also, I'm hoping that the fun times of the "Roaring 20's" are shown in this book because I find this time period to be extremely interesting.

    Treasure, I agree that Morrison's view on war is partial because she only talks about the negatives. The quote on war that you wrote about is really disgusting, but I like it because it is descriptive so the reader is able to view the scene in his/her head.

    Alexis P5

  28. Sula is a very individual person. She wants to be a very individual person but people are labeling her as someone else. Sometimes she seems to hate herself but at the same time she is in love with herself. She just seems very self centered and doesn't want to be put down by others. She says, "I'm me. I'm not their daughter. I'm not Nel. I'm me."(28). Another thing that I find interesting is that Nel doesn't even know who her grandmother is. It has become obvious that there was some sort of major incident between them.

    What was shadrack before the war?

    Austin Connell
    Period 6

  29. I don't particularly enjoy reading Sula right not but I don't particularly dislike it either. So far, some of Morrison's passages have been a little confusing mostly because she mentions things that are unknown and doesn't explain them or when she does explain them, she waits until later in her writing. That sounds kind of confusing, but so is her writing styles at times. Some passages that really stood out to me was when Shadrack started into battle and when he was released from the hospital. I found these interesting because the brain part was so graphic and disgusting and she added in so much detail. I also found it intriguing how crazy Shadrack seems to be. The things that Morrison came up with and imagined him seeing are indcredible and creative - just shows what a good imagination she has!


  30. Morrison's writing style is confusing, especially as she starts talking about things suddenly without explaining them first, so the readers aren't sure what's going on. One passage that I found interesting was the part about Shadrack's hallucinationsabout his hands growing. I felt as if the author's mentions of his hands has some significance, but wasn't sure what. It seems as if Morrison has a purely negative view of the war, from the way she described it's effet on Shadrack.
    I agree that Shadrack a bit overexaggerated as a character, most veterans are very affected by the war but don't become crazy.
    P. 6

  31. I found Morrison's writing style very interesting. Most authors try to keep a consistent style while writing. Morrison, on the other hand, doesn't. She goes from using very descriptive, vivid words to confusing plain words. For example, she describes a person in Bottom-"... a bit of black bottom, a bit of "messing around" to the lively notes of a mouth organ. Her bare feet would raise the saffron dust that floated down on the coveralls and bunion split shoes of the man breathing music in and out of his harmonica." This quote shows how she goes back and forth. The most intriguing passages I found were the ones about Shadrack. He is such a confusing, lively character that really stands out so far. I just can't figure out what his importance is yet, other than Morrison turning us back to reality about the war.

    Reema C.
    period 5

  32. Taylor, I completely agree with you about Shadrack and his reaction to his hands "growing". I found that part confusing too, but you made a good point on how that shows how messed up he is because of the war. It shows the affect of the war on people.

    Reema C.
    period 5

  33. Morrisons writing style is really all over the place. She doesn't have one defined style that she uses. she really jumps from story to story without a real introduction so the reader can be a little confused as to whats going on. As for her view on the war id say she clearly opposes it. she always talks about it in a bad way. And the only stories shes told turn the reader away from the war. The stories only show the negatives of the war not the positives.
    - Jarrett P5

    Bobby T,
    I have the same view about shadrack. It makes it seem as though everyone who goes to war comes back as a crazed and hallucinated phsyco. which clearly is not true.

  34. I really like Morrison's writing style. She uses a lot of metaphors and a lot of repitition ("...rested somewhere under the eyelids, somewhere under their headrags and soft felt hats, somewhere in the palm of the hand, somewhere behind the frayed lapels, somewhere in the sinew's curve." I feel like it's these aspects that give Morrison such a distinct voice, but I'm not sure. She also heads into subjects bluntly, which gives her stories a rougher feeling.

    I'd assume that she is opposed to the war because her stories are only affected by it in a negative way.

    Taylor-I think that the hands growing part seems confusing because people are thinking about it as actually happening. My guess is that it's meant to be taken as the thoughts of a dilusional man.

    -Katrice K
    period 5

  35. After reading 1919 and 1920 I got a preview of how Morrison writes. It can get kind of confusing
    and when I was reading about SHadrock I didn't really understand what happenned to him. Morrison
    talks a lot about the little details in some sections of the text, but then doesn't give too much detail at all in other parts. I have to reread a lot so i understand completely what is going on. I also don't understand whether
    Shadrock was in a shock from coming home from the war or if he just lost himself completely.Shadrock even asked the cop why he was being talked to as a "private," which is weird because he should know that about hismelf.
    It's confusing to me why he didn't just let the cops know he came from the hospital and wasn't feeling well instead of letting them take him away to jail. Another thing i thought was interesting was when the "bottom" was being described. It's ironic that the African American
    people live there and it's on the highest part of the hills, but they look down on the white
    people on the lower part of the land. It's funny because i would think it would be the other
    way around. The "bottom of heaven" probably is symbolic for the book because it shows a coming
    of age for blacks. I wish the writing was more clear or gave more hints as to what is to come in the future.

    I agree with Madison in that Morrison did a great job depicting life for an African American during this time period. I really got a feel for how life was really like!

    Leah S
    Period 5

  36. I liked the beginning of the book, especially the story of Shadrack. I enjoyed reading about his post-war experience, not because I'm some sick person who likes to hear about people's anguish, but because I found it interesting how he was reacting to the war. I feel like from the war, he has become a totally different type of person as opposed to who he was pre-war. This dramatic change, this total shift is interesting. I really enjoy Toni's writing style, and I like that this book is different from the Bluest Eye, because sometimes when authors write multiple books, all the books turn out similar in plot and style. But not hers! I also think she looks very negatively on the war because whenever she described someone who had been through it, she described them negatively. She focused on the destruction of their being.

    jarrett, i dont agree with you, but i understand why you think that about her writing style. i do agree with your analyziation of what she thinks of the war.

    - Therese M. Period 5

  37. So far I do not really like Toni Morrison's writing style because some of her writing is very confusing andshe switches abck and forth between many characters and references things that we do not really understand yet, although I think that once the book picks up the writing style will be very unique and the multiple perspectives from different characters will e very interesting. I think that based on her writing about shadrack she is very hateful towards the war and thinks that it has very damaging effects on people, for instance National Suicide Day which is probabaly a way of dealiing with the anxiety and post traumatic stress that shadrack has.

    Kelly, I completely agree with you about the difficulty of following along with Toni's writing and how hard it really is.

    Jake Period 6

  38. While I was reading, the part that I had the strongest reaction to was the part where Shadrack's tinplate is divided into three 3 separate sections. This showed segregation and he even says, “white, the red and the brown would stay where they were… not explode froth from their restricted zones” (8). Morrison’s writing style is complicated and confusing and i wish it was easier to understand. She really also shows how horrible the war was and has a strong reaction to it.

    I also agree that the bedroom scene is very important because she decides not to be defined by her mother. Also, I too dislike how Morrison writes from present to past.

    -Alexis A. Period 6

  39. It struck me how blunt the description of Eva killing her son was. "She rolled a bit of newspaper into a tight stick about six inches long, lit it and threw it onto the bed where the kerosene-soaked Plum lay in snug delight. Quickly, as the whoosh of flames engulfed him, she shut the door and made her slow and painful journey back up to the top of the house." (47-48)I couldn't believe how matter-of-fact the description felt when, as the reader, I'm feeling so much disbelief. How could someone burn their own child alive? Why didn't she try to help him with his drug abuse and give him a second chance?

    Julianne, I think you're right about Eva still being a good mother. Not that what she did was right, but she did it out of love. I think she blew the situation a bit out of proportion, but then again, drug abuse was not as prevalent then as it is now.

    Molly H period 5

  40. When i first started reading Sula, I found it a bit confusing. Trying to figure out who was which character and how they are all connected. The first chapter was a bit confusing with all of the talk about the war. Then as I read on it got easier to understand when Morrison began to talk more about Eva, Nell, Sula, etc And described how they are all connected. On page 32 it shows how some of the characters are connected, “Eva married a man named BoyBoy and had three children:Hannah, the eldest, and Eva, whom she named, after herself but called Pearl, and a son named Ralph, whom she called Plum.” I hope as I continue to read on I become more adjusted to her style of writing.

    I agree with Jenny in that Shadrack is a bit over exaggerated as a character. I got confused about who he was and what his place in the book is.

    Grace Nardella
    Period 6

  41. I personally believe Morrison's writing style allows her to paint picture in the readers mind, and it leads to more shades than if the same setting was from the perspective of one character.

    Nel's speech was especially powerful. By reassuring herself that she is who she is, not defined by race or family, the scene establishes what her character stands for.

    Morrison is an excellent writer and easily displays the horrors of war(as if she had actually been there!). There are parallels to be drawn between how Shadrack copes home and the man who was not listening to his own mind.

    @Jess -- Shadrack is imaging his hands larger, NOT that the reality is that his hands are growing.


  42. Even though Morrison's writing style is very confusing, I liked how she showed all of the scenes/situations from the perspectives of all of the characters in the novel. It is a different way to go about writing a novel. About the whole "hands growing" thing with the Private, I fell as if he is suffering from PTSD from being in the war, because unusual things were happening to him.

    I completely agree with everything that you said in your post! (:

    Jess B. p.5

  43. With the reading I have done so far, i personally do not like Morrison's writing style. It's difficult for me to concentrate on one topic and be able to analyze it when she is constantly switching ideas. It seems that this book is less of one continuous story and more of a book of many short stories. She appears to be opposed to the war because every time she mentions the war, it's never in a positive way-always negative.

    Sam B. Per. 5

  44. Ok, so I'm reposting this after I just found out now that it never posted, so I don't really remember what I was originally thinking. That being said, I feel Morrison has a different writing style than what I'm personally used to. I don't really like it too much. I find her transitions from characters and settings to be a little confusing sometimes. At the same time there are things I do like about her writing, such as phrases as "locked" eyes and faces and "growing" hands etc.

    To people who asked about Shadrack's hands growing, his hands aren't ACTUALLY growing but in his mind he thinks they are. It's all his imagination.

    Caitlyn L. Period 5

  45. At first, Morrison's writing style was difficult to read, but as I read more and got more involved in the story, I slowly became accustomed to it. I wasn't able to pick up on her true beliefs about war in general, but from the way she portrayed Shadrack I think that she probably felt that it changed you for the worse.
    The chapter "1920" had many passages that moved me emotionally, but not because of the information presented. I already knew about racism in this time period, and it didn't really shock me how the "black" people behaved or were treated. What did shock me, however, is how callously Morrison handled normally touchy subjects... For example, when she blatantly called Helene a "daughter of a Creole whore." It makes me feel like this style first asks for the reader's pity and then rejects it out of pride.

    Treasure, I have to agree with you.... Nell is also my favorite character so far! As a reader, its easier to get an "insider's perspective" when reading from Nell's point of view, because of her naive but observant nature.

    Sreedevi 6

  46. I believe that Morrison had a strong opinion against war. The chapter describing Shadrack's experience were terrifying. From the reading I found that the perspective of war was how it can change things and break a person. For example, Shadrack hallucinated that his hands were deforming in front of his eyes. I did have a strong reaction to the passage describing Shadrack and his journey through the town. Mainly because I was intrigued to find out what was going on with him. Why was he seeing his hands deform? I found Morrison's writing style to be intriguing, the way she writes makes me want to read more. It's confusing but not in a frustrating way. At times, I will admit, I did get exasperated because she did jump around in her writing. I felt that she's actually talking to you and telling a story rather than writing a story. One confusing scene in these chapters was when Nel is talking about being herself. I don't understand why this emotion in Nel came forth. It might have been because she saw her mother “turn to jelly” in front of the white conductor.
    Kelly, I think the soldiers were dissapproving of Nel and her mother because Nel's mother couldn't stand up for herself. The minute she felt threatened by the white men, she broke down and gave into them. She put on a foolish smile in order to evade a conflict. Where the soldiers would have stood up for themselves, they were angry that she didn't do that for herself.
    Shama P6

  47. *Passages that you had a strong reaction to
    *Morrison's writing style

    Morison's attitude towards war is that it plays with the human mind. The horrors and the suddenness of death boggles Shadrack's mind. The chaos of the war makes Shadrack craves for order when he returns home, which is why he creates the Nt'l Suicide Day. to devote a day to killing others or oneself, if anyone wants to.
    I had a strong reaction to the incident where Helene smiles confidently at the hostile, white conductor. Because the conductor was behaving demeaningly towards Helene, I thought she would droop her head and look down. But she did the most unexpected by smiling, trying to please the white guy. I felt very uplifted when she did that.
    Morrison's writing style is authentic. She uses the language of African Americans when she's telling a story in Medallion and she uses the tongues of Creole, Southern Whites and Southern Black when she writes about the appropriate types of people. Morison's writing is also metaphorical: National Suicide Day, which becomes "part of the fabric of life" in the Bottom. Also, the sound of the writing is chracteristic to the people she addresses : "All the old vulnerabilities, all the old fears of being somehow flawed gathered in her stomach . . ."
    I agree with you when you say that Nel started to develop a sense of "me-ness" from the way her mother seemed to "turn into a jell" in front of the white conductor. She wasnted to be braver than her mother, and not let anyone control her emotions.

    Anjita p.6