The Role of Men in Toni Morrison

Paper Rating: Word Count: 994 Approx Pages: 4

One factor that men served in Toni Morrison's book Sula was their ability to change the women around them. For example, two of the men in the book, BoyBoy and Ajax, had a strong effect on two of the most unimpressionable women in the book, Sula and Eva. While BoyBoy and Ajax remain unaffected by relationships with Eva and Sula respectively, the two women were put through great emotional turmoil resulting from relations with the men. The constant trend the men employ in the book is abandonment. This causes the women of the novel to feel rejected and unworthy, which ultimately makes them weaker as people. They become obsessed with BoyBoy and Ajax and lose their sense of self consequently.

Let's take the case of Eva and BoyBoy first. Not much is mentioned about BoyBoy before he is quickly labled as someone who "did whatever he could that he liked, and he liked womanizing best, drinking second, and abusing Eva third.  (32). Not only is this unflattering description equated to Eva's husband, but he also was the one who took off. This gives the reader an idea of what type of guy BoyBoy is and what type of woman Eva is. She stood by her man even though he treated her so poorly. BoyBoy stole away her reason as she admits to herself: "She thought she had probably been a fool to let BoyBoy haul her away from her people, but it had seemed so right at the time.  (33). He was very impressionistic on a woman, who you can plainly see later in the book, is not very impressionistic at all.

Boyboy, it would seem, has a power over Eva which influences how she behaves and thinks around him: "She had no idea what she would do or feel during [the encounter with her husband]. Would she cry, cut his throat, beg him to make love to her?

She couldn't imagine.  (35). This encounter mentioned came after Eva had obtained a large sum of money as a result of losing... Continue Reading