Choose from the following topics:
1. Analyze the ending of the novel. What are the “circles of sorrow” that Nel experiences? Is the ending pessimistic, optimistic, or something else altogether?
2. Nel and Sula’s friendship is central in the novel. What role does this friendship play in Nel and Sula’s lives and what point is Morrison making about the role of life-long friendships in the formation of identity?
3.How do people who are intensely individualistic fare in the novel? Is it possible to break away rom the values of the community and to be one’s own person? Answer the question with reference to at least two of the novel’s characters.
4.How and by whom is love expressed in the novel? In what ways is the love in the novel a ease the suffering of the characters? How is love not enough to appease the characters in light of their suffering?
5. In what ways are the various characters in the novel alienated from the community? How do they cope with their loneliness, their preoccupations, and other after effects of feeling abandoned?
6.Compare and contrast the journey of self-discovery for two characters in the book. Remember to take a position in your thesis that establishes the significance of the comparison and contrast.
7. Contrast Nel’s relationship to her mother and Sula’s interaction with her mother. Remember to take a position in your thesis that establishes the significance of the contrast.
8. Trace the use of three symbols in the novel and explain their connection to a theme in the novel.
9. What does Shadrack’s character teach us about the after effects of war and the ways mentally ill people can be ostracized from a community?
10. Although no one has ever joined Shadrack on National Suicide Day, in the chapter titled 1941, much of the town marches toward the tunnel where they have not been able to get work and in their rage, the try to “kill, as best they could, the tunnel they were forbidden to build” (160). What is the significance of the event at the tunnel and the resulting deaths there?