Sula Passage 1 Essay

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Sula Passage 1 Chicken Little's death is a major catalyst for the events of Toni Morrison's Sula. The aftermath of his drowning allows Morrison to contrast the reaction of the Bottom to both the value of black life as perceived by whites, as well as the reaction of Nel and Sula, who unintentionally caused Chicken Little's death. Chicken Little’s body is discovered, caught among “ rocks and weeds” by a white bargeman. The bargeman is shockingly callous, and Morrison’s description of Chicken Little’s discovery is, likewise, emotionless. For the Bargeman, the dead child is nothing more than a nuisance, not even human, this is conveyed by the objectivity of Morrison’s language: “He prodded the body”, “He dragged the sack away”, Chicken Little is treated as nothing more than a piece of trash dredged from the water. Furthermore, the only value the Bargeman ascribes to Chicken Little is because of his age, “He would have left him there but noticed it was a child, not an old black man”, the man’s disregard for black life demonstrates the racism and brutality of the period.…show more content…
The first time Chicken Little’s mother sees his body, “her mouth flew wide open and it was seven hours until she was able to close it”, this total horror occurs after a sheriff advises the bargeman to “Throw it back onto the water”, making the difference between the reactions especially during this passage, Chicken Little’s body is referred to with male pronouns, “when she saw his body”, but with the bargeman and sheriff, Chicken Little is simply called “it”. This emphasizes the dehumanization of Chicken Little, and the lives of blacks overall, so that the description of Chicken Little’s mother’s reaction is especially

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