Sula

Grandmother / Great-Aunt Cecile Character Analysis

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 importance of religion and good behavior. She dies before the age of 50—a tragic reminder of the harsh lives Morrison’s characters lead.
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Grandmother / Great-Aunt Cecile Character Timeline in Sula

The timeline below shows where the character Grandmother / Great-Aunt Cecile appears in Sula. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1920
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Women, Motherhood, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Orleans brothel called the Sundown House, to a “Creole whore.” Helene is raised by her grandmother, and is told to reject her mother’s “wild” way of life. (full context)
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Women, Motherhood, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...woman, a seaman named Wiley Wright comes to New Orleans to visit his Great Aunt Cecile (Helene’s grandmother). During his visit, Wiley becomes enamored with Helene. He proposes marriage to her,... (full context)
Love and Sexuality Theme Icon
Women, Motherhood, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
In November 1920, Helene receives a letter from Henri Martin, explaining that Helene’s grandmother is ill. Helene is nervous about returning to New Orleans, since women at the time—both... (full context)
Women, Motherhood, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
In New Orleans, Nel and Helene make their ways to Cecile’s house (until this moment, the narrator hadn’t made it clear that Wiley’s Great Aunt Cecile... (full context)