WITH OR WITHOUT NATURE
I was just ten years old then. We were on our way to the library when my teacher stopped to look at a tree in blossom. We were already trailing behind the others so I wondered why she had stopped. The tree overlooked the edge of a mountain. It was almost bare and pink blossoms were floating down. She asked me sit down on the ledge beneath it for a moment. I did so not really knowing why. She asked me if I could feel it – its power, its beauty, its magic. The earth, the mountains, mountains, the rivers, the trees, the colors speak to us. Man and nature are one. Her eyes were closed. She seemed so at peace. We left. For a long time I did not understand what she had meant but the thought remained.
When I read Toni Morrison’s Sula I began to understand what she had meant - the connection between humans and nature and the significance of this relationship. The beauty and fierceness of nature are intertwined like life and death and we see both faces of nature in Sula. We see the power of the elements of earth, fire, water and wind.
We meet the black neighborhood “up” in the Bottom, who lives in harmony with nature. They believe that the “only way to avoid the Hand of God [is] to get in it (66).” Take life as it comes. Their attitude towards life reflects their acceptance of the forces of Nature.
Earth is the womb where man grows. The earth plays a very important role in this book as it represents topographically the lower position of the African Americans in the social ladder. The African American community lives up in the “Bottom.” The word bottom is ironical as they live up in the mountains but it signifies their lower social position. It came to be called so as a “nigger joke.” A “good” farmer who had Promised Land to a slave did not want to part with the fertile valley land. So he fooled the slave into believing that the mountainous land was precious and rich and called the “Bottom” as when looked from Heaven...