Dr. Fred Woodard
Participation year
Project title

Toni Morrison's Young Women: Pecola and Sula as Agents of Activation


Throughout Toni Morrison novels there appears to be a concern with the function of young women, perhaps because of their peculiar station in terms of their often inherent marginal position within the hierarchies of sex, age, and race. More specifically, within Toni Morrison's first two novels, The Bluest Eye and Sula, the main characters Pecola and Sula respectively, both occupy a space on the margins of society. Through the occupation of these liminal social positions both Pecola and Sula serve as a type of healing agent or activating element for others within the story. Although both women occupy peripheral social spaces and serve as healing agents their very different outcomes suggest that if young women are positioned as pariah and healing agents, their final station will be most strongly determined by the degree of resoluteness of their self-identity.

University of Missouri, Columbia