Toni Morrison is the author of seven, critically acclaimed, novels and a professor at Princeton University. She won a Pulitzer Prize for her novel Beloved and received grater recognition when in 1993, she received the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African- American women to do so. Born Chloe Anthony Wofford in Ohio, Morrison received her undergraduate degree at Howard University and completed her master's degree at Cornell. While she worked full-time as an editor at Random House and raised two sons, she began writing her first novel, The Bluest Eye. Sula, her second novel, deals with themes of race, womanhood, the effects of history, and the contingencies of love. As Sara Blackburn wrote in her review of Sula after the book's release in 1973, "Toni Morrison is someone who really knows how to clank a senten and her dialogue is so compressed and life-like it sizzles (Blackburn)." It is a rare writer who can be successful trying to entertain, educate, and expand upon some of life's deeper mysteries, but Morrison does all these."The power of love in Toni Morrison's Sula was manifested in relationships involving family, friendship and sex.
Shadrack, a resident of the Bottom, fought in WWI. He returns a shattered man, unable to accept the complexities of the world; he lives on the outskirts of town, attempting to create order in his life. One of his methods involves compartmentalizing his fear of death in a ritual he invents and names National Suicide Day. The town is at first wary of him and his ritual, then, over time, unthinkingly accepts him. Meanwhile, the families of the children Nel and Sula are contrasted. Nel and Sula are perfect complements of each other. They both grow up in completely different households and encounter different raisings by their mothers. Nel's mother did what she could to drive "her daughter's imagination underground (Morrison 18)," raising her to be polite and obedient.