During my reading of Sula I did not see many heroic qualities in the character of Sula. I believe that a hero is someone who displays exceptional courage, nobility, strength, and contributes some type of positive transforming quality to society. Sula’s negative reputation actually rallies the Bottom together against her. Sula serves as a symbol that all the people of the Bottom can oppose. So indirectly, Sula unites the Bottom. However, I do not view any of her acts as noble. Whether it is watching her mother burn, putting Eva into a nursing home, or having an affair with Jude, I see none of these scenes as noble.
Taking a closer look at Sula as a character, she does not value anything external. She even goes on to justify her affair with Jude, telling Nel: “I didn’t kill him, I just fucked him. If we were such good friends, how come you couldn’t get over it” (145). In this statement, she faults Nel for the affair, something I find completely out of line. The only heroic quality I see within the novel is displayed in the end by Nel. Her self-examination and confrontation of her own lifestyle is something admirable, noble, and may possibly lead to positive changes in her future. In that respect, I believe that Sula serves as the spark that ignites Nel's heroic qualities.