Confusing friendships and twisted love triangles is one of the themes in the book Sula by Toni Morrison. Sula and Nel had a very complex relationship, but in the end they both realized how precious friendship was to them and they overcame their differences.
Ever since the beginning of their friendship, I felt Nel and Sula were dependent on each other. Sula seemed to try to impress Nel, who was stronger and did not need Sula to stand up for her as often. Sula would do such things as cut the tip of her finger off to prove her friendship to Nel, which just made Nel feel uncomfortable. While Nel always valued the friendship that her and Sula had, she did not have to go out of her way to prove it in ways that Sula did early on in their relationship. When Nel got married to Jude, I believe that it hurt Sula deeply because someone came in the way of the friendship. Sula thought that Jude took her place for companionship, so she left Medallion for ten years, trying to find companionship in the arms of unloving men.
Sula never learned how to properly love or show affection to other people. Her grandmother Hannah showed love in odd ways, and I do not believe that she ever truly loved her children. I think that Eva did care deeply for her children and grandchildren, but they were a reminder of her bad marriage to BoyBoy. Hannah married a man named Rekus, who died when Sula was just three years old. Again, this left her with the burden of raising a child alone. Hannah openly said that she did love Sula, but did not like her. When a young child hears this from their mother, it must have a great effect on them. Sula seemed quite upset at this comment because all she was ever looking for was love and acceptance, and she couldn t even get that feeling from her own family. When Sula found that feeling from Nel, but then Nel got married, it affected Sula negatively once again. Sula must have felt rejected from her friend, rather than joy that Nel had found love.
As friends, Sula and Nel shared everything with each other. When Sula left Medallion, I do not feel that she grew up at all. When she returned, she felt that her and Nel could just pick up from where they left off. Sula still felt that her and Nel could share everything, including men. Sula sleeping with Jude was the breaking point in her friendship with Nel. Sula showed no respect for her friend by doing that, and she felt no remorse afterwards. It was just normal behavior for her. When Sula was traveling the world, she slept with a lot of men, but had no serious relationships. Again, I feel this is because she never learned from her elders how to have a stable, good relationship. Sula was jealous of the closeness that Jude and Nel shared, so Sula wanted to join in on the fun.
Soon enough the whole town turned against Sula because of her promiscuity. Once a girl that everyone liked, Sula was now the town whore and women wouldn t ever acknowledge her when they passed on the street. Women feared that Sula would try to steal their husbands, so suddenly wives were going out of their way to make the home life better so the men were satisfied. Because of her reputation, some men were going to her because they were curious, such as Ajax. Sula, unfortunately, had stronger feelings for Ajax over time, and he left at the first sign of seriousness in the relationship. While it is sad that Sula did not find a long-term companion in Ajax, it was very deserving for her to be deserted. Ajax treated Sula the same way that Sula had treated all they other men she had slept with in the past.
When Sula became sick, Nel still refused to honor the friendship that her and Sula once shared. It was not until after Sula had died that Nel realized how nothing could ever come between the bond of friendship that they shared. Even at the end of Sula s life, her last thoughts weren t of her family or events in her life, but of her good friend Nel. Sula and Nel had a rough friendship with many hardships, but in the end both could not deny the strength of their relationship.