Rhetorical Analysis: Introduction Paragraph of Sula
In the opening paragraph of Sula, Tori Morrison describes an old neighborhood that will now be replaced with a Golf Course. She reminiscences about what the the neighborhood used to be and includes numerous details to establish how personal the neighborhood really was. This collaboration of memories makes the “Bottom” seem significant to her. She suggests that the neighborhood is now unimportant and forgotten to those who did not have ties to it when she says, ...there once was a neighborhood.”
Morrison emphasizes the irony of the situation in several instances. The name of the neighborhood on the hilltop is called the bottom. This signifies the rank of society. She also notes that, “Generous funds have been allotted to level the stripped and faded buildings...” This is ironic because if funds would have been provided to the “bottom” before, the neighborhood could have improved instead of becoming extinct. She refers to a beauty salon in the neighborhood as, “Irene's Palace of Cosmetology.” This most likely, however, was quite the opposite.
Tori Morrison intends for the diction to be direct and impacting. Words such as “tore” and “pry” show the inconsideration of the people who are demolishing the town. Words such as “nightshade” and “blackberry patches” signify the prejudice of the people who want to make room for the golf course. She conveys that there is an insignificance of these people to others.
Pathos is prevalent throughout the paragraph. Morrison describes African Americans being torn from their “roots,” their homes, for the selfish ambition of the Medallion City Gold Course. While describing the business and people of the neighborhood she adds a personal element to the paragraph, ultimately appealing to emotions. She creates vivid images that make connections to the place the “bottom” used to be.
Morrison aims to create a setting in the opening paragraph of Sula. She marks a place that used to be. The “bottom” was a neighborhood, with business and people, but now its only to be torn down to be built into something better. It is evident that although the bottom was not prestigious, it was significant to the people who lived there.