On September 21, 2021 class began with a large group discussion for Sula. We then dove into the topic of Eva’s character and talked about the representation of her disability. Eva’s disability could have been seen either as a weakness or a mystery of power, however the group decided that in the beginning Eva was proud of her disability, but later it was not correctly taken care of as she was experiencing signs of Dementia. Those around Eva were in awe of her as she became older and she interacted with the younger generation. Although she was able to interact with them, we were then asked if this interaction was due to the younger generation being afraid of her. We also discussed Eva’s disability and her leg, as it was not seen so much in a negative way, but in a prideful way or as a “battlescar.” Another disability she suffers from connecting with others in a social aspect. Lastly in the book, they really focused on Eva’s mental state and/or disability rather than her physical state.
Discussion then shifted to Plum’s death and how even though Eva has a disability, she is a caregiver to Plum and his post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from war. Although Eva is a main character, her flaws, fights, and decisions turn her role into one of antagonism. Our class learned very well from this piece that love is a sacrifice and people do crazy, irrational things in love. Going along with this, we also talked about how Hannah once asked Eva if she loved them. Although Eva had much love for Plum, she shoots him and explains that it was an action of love. This is an example of how love is a sacrifice and how Eva’s actions are done out of love, but end up hurting everyone around her. She then sets Plum on fire as a sense of a “baptism,” however setting someone on fire is not mercy killing. Even though Plum acknowledges he is suffering from PTSD and substance abuse, Eva makes a rash decision to kill him. After setting Plum on fire, Hannah accidentally sets herself on fire and this causes a panic in Eva. We discussed whether or not this was purely out of fear, love, or a sense of guilt. We found it interesting that Hannah was grown and Eva threw herself out of the window to save her, and the class thought of it as guilt eating her alive. The group then discussed Eva’s very strange relationships and how her brain is wired differently than everyone else’s and her need to feel control.
We then integrated the discussion of Shadrack’s character and how he is not integrated in society and he was Sula’s character all alone. The class talked about how he was very similar to Boo Radley in the sense of the verbiage describing the two. For example, the two are both referred to as shadows and they are not seen as a full person.
Lastly, we had time for small group discussion and we broke out into four small groups and discussed the piece by John Lee Clark, “Hypoesthesia,” “Until,” and “The Woman Hanging from the Thirteenth Floor Window.” We then got back into a large group discussion and talked about each of our initial poems.
“I Pledge”- Mary Ainsley Fox
Word Count: 553