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Toni Morrison’s Sula as Deliberate Provocation: A Study of the Provoked Reader
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Abstract: Toni Morrison’s Sula as a Deliberate Provocation.

A Study of the Provoked Reader.



Those who take Toni Morrison’s novel Sula in their hands will enter a world full of unpredictable turns. This essay argues that Morrison deliberately provokes her readers by arousing both anger and interest. I draw on reader-response theory, based primarily on Wolfgang Iser’s phenomenological approach with a special focus on African–American women readers since Morrison deliberately addresses her writings to this reader category. The narrative forces the real readers to make an internal journey as Morrison’s ambiguous narrative confuses readers’ perception of what is true or false and what is good or evil. Thus, readers must scrutinize their own standpoints. Because of her amoral behavior, Sula, the protagonist, grows up to be a person with whom it is very hard to sympathize and identify. At the same time the novel tickles the readers’ curiosity because of Sula’s struggle for individual freedom, and I argue that the reader reappraises her as she gradually takes the shape of a heroine.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 22 p.
Keyword [en]
Sula, Toni Morrison, Reader-response theory
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62127OAI: diva2:439962
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-09-30 Created: 2011-09-09 Last updated: 2011-09-30Bibliographically approved

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