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Sula Peace

The titular character of Sula, Sula Peace is a wild, resourceful woman, whose friendship with the tame and domestic Nel Wright changes in various complicated ways between the 1920s and the 1940s. From the… (read full character analysis)

Nel Wright / Nel Wright Greene

One of the two protagonists of Sula, Nel Wright is an orderly, proper young woman who tries to find peace in the face of jealousy and sexual danger. Like her mother, Helene Wright(read full character analysis)


A prematurely aged, fearsome-looking, and often incoherent resident of the Bottom. Shadrack was once a young, handsome man, but his experiences fighting in World War I left him with deep emotional scars. For the majority… (read full character analysis)

Helene Sabat Wright

Helene Sabat is a proud, pious woman who was born in New Orleans, and later moved to Medallion, Ohio to marry Wiley Wright, her cousin. Helene was born in a whorehouse in New Orleans… (read full character analysis)

Eva Peace

The elderly matriarch of the Peace family, Eva Peace is an impressive, capable, and fiercely devoted mother and grandmother. As a young woman, she marries BoyBoy, but after BoyBoy leaves her, she throws herself… (read full character analysis)
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Hannah Peace

The oldest child of Eva Peace, Hannah Peace is an important influence on her daughter, Sula Peace. After the death of her husband, Rekus, Hannah has many suitors, and often has sex… (read full character analysis)

Grandmother / Great-Aunt Cecile

The grandmother (and effective mother) of Helene Sabat Wright, and a great aunt to Wiley Wright, who eventually marries Helene. Great-Aunt Cecile, like her granddaughter, is a proper, righteous woman who recognizes the… (read full character analysis)

Wiley Wright

The husband of Helene Sabat Wright, and the great-nephew of Cecile, Wiley Wright is barely present in Sula—a surprising fact, considering that he’s the father of one of the novel’s protagonists. Wiley is… (read full character analysis)


Helene’s mother and Cecile’s daughter. Rochelle is described as a “Creole whore” who works in a brothel called the “Sundown House.” Rochelle, who’s 48 when she meets her granddaughter, Nel Wright, seems… (read full character analysis)

Tar Baby

A pale-skinned resident of the Bottom, rumored to be either partly or entirely white. Tar Baby is a depressed, self-hating man, who’s among the first to join Shadrack in “celebration” of National Suicide Day(read full character analysis)

BoyBoy Peace

The neglectful, often brutish husband of Eva Peace. BoyBoy marries Eva when she’s still very young, and is a loving, happy husband at first. But after Eva gives birth to three children, BoyBoy abruptly… (read full character analysis)

Ralph / Plum Peace

The youngest and seemingly best loved of Eva Peace’s three children, Plum Peace goes off to fight in World War I, and, like Shadrack, comes back a broken man. He spends a year… (read full character analysis)


One of the most enigmatic characters in Sula, Ajax is a young, energetic resident of the Bottom, who seems to be a brutish, sexist man, but also proves to have a sensitive, mysterious side… (read full character analysis)

Jude Greene

A young, handsome resident of the Bottom, who dreams of spending his adulthood working on the famed New River Road, Jude is one of the strangest characters in Sula: although he seems like… (read full character analysis)

The deweys

A group of boys who are given the same name by Eva Peace when they’re born: “Dewey.” Over time, the deweys (always lowercase!) remain a tight-knit group, to the point where they refuse to do… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
Henri Martin
A New Orleans resident and friend of Great-Aunt Cecile, who alerts Helene Sabat Wright to her grandmother’s sickness.
The husband of Hannah Peace, who dies when Sula Peace, his daughter, is three years old.
Eva / Pearl Peace
The middle of Eva Peace’s three children, and one about whom we know the least. Pearl marries a man at the age of 14, and moves to Michigan—afterwards, we hear little about her. Ohio, it seems, is only big enough for one “Eva Peace.”
A friend of Hannah Peace.
A friend of Hannah Peace.
Chicken Little
A young boy who plays with Sula Peace and Nel Wright, and, due in part to Sula’s clumsiness, falls into the Ohio River and drowns.
Reverend Deal
The head of the church in the Bottom.
Old Willy Fields
An orderly at the local hospital who saves Eva Peace’s life after she hurls herself out of a window.
A young child whose parents beat him when he’s misbehaved, but stop when Sula returns to the Bottom in 1937.
Mr. Finley
An old man whose death from a chicken bone is blamed on Sula Peace.
A woman who lives in the Bottom.
Mr. Suggs
A neighbor of Eva Peace.
Mrs. Suggs
A neighbor of Eva Peace.