Introduction and Thesis (thesis idea underlined in the text)
American Literature 2130
November 27, 2004
It has been said that something goes missing in an
individual if one’s relationship with their mother is askew.
In her novel, Sula, Toni Morrison explores the enigmatic
aspects of motherhood. She acknowledges those characteristics of
mothers that are not written about in greeting cards. Morrison
deliberately depicts a much more complicated version of the
relationship between a mother and her offspring. She reveals both
the amazing heights and awful depths of her love.
She shows that its real nature includes both altruism and
self-interest. Her telling of this mother love challenges the
traditional sweet, gentle, care giving role most often assigned to
the nurturing soul called Mother. In fact, Morrison’s mothers do
not conform to any specified standard of behavior. They themselves
are the products of imperfect mothers’ doubts and fears, and
oftentimes their expressions of love are misunderstood by the very
ones they cherish. Toni Morrison breaks with the typical
expectations surrounding the mother figure in order to refashion the
archetype. Morrison’s paradoxical portrayal certainly provides her
readers with a fuller picture of a mother with a hint of suggestion
for them to embrace the whole.
introduction appeals to readers' curiosity by pointing out an aspect
of the topic that runs counter to their expectations. Just as an
interrogative introduction draws readers in by asking a question, a
paradoxical introduction draws readers in by saying, in effect, 'Here's
something completely surprising and unlikely about this issue, but my
essay will go on to show you how it is true'" (Greene and Lidinsky 205).