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LIST OF CHARACTERS
Sula Peace - a wild and defiant girl who lives with her mother Hannah, the town slut, and her grandmother Eva, a strong-headed, one-legged matriarch. Sula has a birthmark shaped like a rose over one eye. She is headstrong and self-driven. She leaves The Bottom for ten years and returns with a worldly air of sophistication. She sleeps with her best friend's husband and later dies alone. For the most part, she is misunderstood and mistrusted all her life.
Shadrack - a shell-shocked veteran of World War I. Shadrack lives by the river in a shack and is a fixture on the landscape of The Bottom. He often talks sensible nonsense and wanders aimlessly. He has founded his own holiday, National Suicide Day. On January 3 of every year he marches the streets of the town and invites people to commit suicide, in acknowledgment of the crazy world they all live in.
Nel Wright - Sula's best (and only) friend. Nel lives with her mother, Helene, a proper and respectable woman who has tried to shield her daughter from anything shameful or improper. Nel is the opposite of Sula. She is a quiet girl who obeys her mother perfectly. Her family is the essence of respectability, in contrast to the crazy chaotic household of Eva Peace. For a time, Nel becomes more independent and self-driven, like Sula; but when Sula leaves, Nel returns to being conservative, traditional, and proud of her own goodness. She is heartbroken when she catches Sula in bed with her husband.
Eva Peace - Sula's grandmother. She has only one leg, and the people of the town suspect her amputation was an insurance scam in order to help her raise her small children. She lives on the second floor of her house in a makeshift wheelchair and rents out rooms to a motley assortment of people. She cares passionately for her children, to the point that she ends the life of her drug-addicted son rather than see him suffer. She also throws herself out a second story window to save her daughter, Sula's mother, who has caught on fire.
Hannah - Sula's mother who likes men. She is considered a loose woman in The Bottom, though the women tolerate her quite well. Since she only wants love, not commitment, she offers no threat to the other women. She says once she does not like her daughter Sula, and when she catches on fire, Sula watches her burn to death without helping.
Plum - Eva's son and Hannah's brother. Plum is his mother's favorite. When he returns from the war, he is a wreck. He lives in a room downstairs in his mother's house, and spends his time sleeping, stealing, and taking drugs. Eva cannot bear to see him suffer from his drug addiction, so she douses him with kerosene and lights him on fire.
Tar Baby - one of Eva's boarders who has a beautiful voice. A white man and an alcoholic, he does odd jobs and scrounges for money for his liquor.
Chicken Little - a small boy who drowns while playing with Sula and Nel.
Jude - Nel's husband and the father of her children. He sleeps with Sula and then abandons Nel.
Ajax - a local who first notices Sula and Nel when they are about twelve years old. Years later, he has an affair with Sula, but ends it when she becomes too attached to him.
The Deweys - three boys who are taken in by Eva. They are not related, but they resemble one another. They never seem to grow up and are a permanent fixture in The Bottom.