National suicide day

Publié le par Clémentine et Amandine

National Suicide Day

Vocabulaire :

the baundaries : les limites / the tetter heads : les crétins (les boutonneux) / to goad : provoquer, guilloner / hens : poules / matted : emmélé / to fit (into) : avoir sa place / scheme: ordre / to straggle : trainer dans la rue => the stragglers : les passants / to lay of : pondre / yolks : jaunes d'oeufs / to womannize : courir les filles / fabric: tissu, lien

Etude du texte

This extract deals with the instauration of The national Suicide Day, in the Bottom, by Shadrack.

          Shadrack is the first character of the book and he is also Sula's protecter like he was her father. Shadrack is a former soldier who was traumatized during WWI (World War I). Indeed he suffers from severe shell shock. That's why he decided to give people a chance to kill themselves or to kill each other. Indeed, it's a way for him to fight his own fear of dying unexpectedly. He encloses death in one place on one day. In fact, it's a need to order his own existence. This day is on every January the 3rd. At the beginning, people were scared of Shadrack's cowbell and his hangman's rope (which reminds us of black people's linching). Actually people were afraid of him because of he is powerful ("his voice was so full of authority") and clever even he is weird and strange. As if they have never got used to it, they think that they are used to this special day. In fact, there are limits in Shadrack's behaviour as "he never touched anybody, never fought, never caressed" (l. 11). Shadrack's behaviour is a way of thinking but it's madness.

          What is striken is the fact that such an institution as the Church has integrated the institution of the National Suicide Day too. It can be seen with "May's well go on with Shad and save the Lamb the trouble ofredemption" (l. 34). Some allusions to the Christ can be noticed such as "Carpenter" (l. 1) which refers to Joseph, the Christ's father. Moreover, "fisherman" is an allusion to the Christ himself. Then what strikes the reader is the fact that the first element related to the National Suicide Day happens to be a birth. National Suicide Day influences fertility. The friend who answers does an exageration when he says that the labor last "'bout three days". There are also the hens laying of double yolks which can be a reference to Nel and Sula as "twice-friends". Toni Morrison, in order to be as realistic as possible, made grammar mistakes such as "All my boys is Sunday boys" (l. 34).

To conclude, this passage is an introduction to the death's theme.


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