With Mother’s Day coming up within a couple weeks, I wanted to bring up the topic of motherly love. We can experience Ekwefi’s distraught over her ogbanje curse and her 9 deceased children, so it’s easy to understand why she values her bond with Ezinma so much. They are extremely close, and actually act more like equals than they do like a mother and a daughter. We see that she is willing to disobey Chielo’s commands, and follows Ezinma regardless of the potential wrath of the gods. She knows that there might be consequences, but she vows to herself that she will rush into that cave if she hears Ezinma crying. She is willing to do anything for her child, and I think that sacrifice is admirable. We’ve see it in many other places (Hester in Scarlet Letter, Eva in Sula, etc.), and I think it is something we can identify with so much because it casts the mother in a positive (and yes, feminist) light—she is strong and brave, and willing to make dire sacrifices for her children if necessary. Even if we don’t classify ourselves as feminists, we tend to feel a sort of pride when we see a female character taking on such a strong role. Motherly love is something we really need to cherish, so make sure you reciprocate that love back to yo momma this Mother’s Day!
All that time, all that time, I thought i was missing Jude.
Nel finally realizes that she was never really missing her husband. She really missed Sula and the friendship they had. This realization really shows the relationship Nel had with her husband and with Sula. Nel and Sula’s relationship was obviously closer and stronger than her relationship with Jude. It was “appropriate” for her to miss Jude because she was supposed to “love” him because he was her husband. She wasn’t supposed to miss Sula because Sula was the one who took him away. I think that the gray ball that hung around Nel might have been this realization that she wasn’t sad because of her husband leaving, but because of Sula leaving. She lost a friend who had been with her through everything form a young age. That was real love.
“I was good to you, Sula, why don’t that matter?” (year: 1940. paragraph: 70).
Sula and Nel had always been inseparable, but one thing split them apart for the rest of their lives. Sula has an affair with Nel’s husband, doing the most unforgivable of all deeds. Sula not only split the marriage, but split the friendship, the more important of the two, as well. Nel asks Sula why she would ever betray her in such a way, to take away one of the men they never shared, a man who was her possession. Nel wonders if their friendship ever mattered and confronts the ill Sula to ask her why she’d be her husband’s mistress. She scolds Sula, but Sula realized that Nel had changed from the girl she was before and does not give Nel a straight as to why she did what she had an affair with Jude. Their friendship is never mended and neither friend understands why the other did what they did.
This is one of the first times in the novel that we see Emma really express and explore her own feelings of love towards Frank. As we discussed in class, Emma started out initially as self-absorbed, naive, and childish, focusing entirely on sticking her nose into everyone’s business. As the story progressed, however, we have now come to notice Emma’s subtle changes in behavior. After her failed “project” for Harriet and Mr. Elton, Emma’s attitude towards matchmaking began to change ever so slightly. She still thinks about the many potential matches and continues to judge the people in her community based on their status. However, at this point, we have gained a peak into the inner-workings of her personal emotions. At this point in the novel, Emma is in a transitional or growing stage. She is still becoming more acquainted with her own emotions, as demonstrated in this quote, as well as in the beginning of Chapter 31 when she convinces herself that she is not in love at all. These fluctuating emotions demonstrate Emma’s growth while reminding us that Emma still has a long way to go.
“The first effort, and the worst, lay at her door. It was foolish, it was wrong, to take so active a part in bringing any two people together. It was adventuring too far, assuming too much, making light of what ought to be serious — a trick of what ought to be simple. She was quite concerned and ashamed, and resolve to do such things no more” (100).
Taken-aback by Elton’s confession of love, Emma reflects on her actions and their affect on others. This is the first instance that Emma does any self-evaulation, marking her development as a character. Emma is able to admit her wrongdoing in trying to matchmake couples, and realizes that any existing relationship between Harriet and Elton is largely due to her manipulation. Saying that, “It was adventuring too far, assuming too much, making light of what ought to be serious — a trick of what ought to be simple,” Emma illustrates how courtship should be based on the pure affection between two people. However, her statement reeks of irony because in the case of the novel, relationships and marriage are largely based on wealth and status, as opposed to the impulses of true love.