I have a very hard time thinking of Sula as the hero of this novel. If I were a single, black female I would feel different, however. I can see how her wild sexuality and care free spirit could seem inspiring and enlightening. However, throughout the book I saw her character more or less as a Greek Goddess. When she needed something from the other characters, she would show up and take it. I never felt emotionally invested in Sula at all. When Ajax walks out on her, I started to feel some sympathy for her. Then I remembered how many homes she had disturbed by sleeping with other men, especially Nel’s husband, and lost any sympathy I felt. In fact, after Nel visits when she is bed-ridden and sick, I still could not feel emotionally invested in her. When it was evident that she was starting to die, I had actually hoped that Nel was standing above her with a match and some gasoline.
The character that was more of a hero in my reading was Eva. I felt empowered by her ability to judge good from evil, such as with her son’s drug problem. Her ability of a surrogate mother to the deweys and drunken Tar Baby also gained my respect. Although we never find out what happened truly to her leg, I had hope after reading that it was some noble and honest loss. Finally, when she calls Nel out on Sula and her accidental murder of the child in the water, I felt somewhat relieved that someone had questioned about the scene. To think of Eva all alone in a dormitory type room broke my heart.