B – Sweetness Analysis and interpretation

To either try and control or resent the unfamiliar and the misunderstood, or at times both, is a natural tendency fuelled by our state of unease and fright, but when will we try to resist it?

When will we try to understand that differences are natural, that the colour of one’s skin doesn’t make them inferior? The short story “Sweetness” by African American Nobel Prize winning novelist, Toni Morrison was published in 2015 in the magazine The New Yorker.

The short story “Sweetness” deals with the difficulty of being a single mother having to raise a black child in a time where racism, prejudices, racially segregated areas and oppression of the coloured are a normality in society, while also learning to see past a colour herself.

The relationship between a mother and child is generally one of unconditional love, but sometimes the relationship can be strained and only be bound by blood.

Lula Ann’s relationship with her mother seems a long shot from a tight knitted mother-daughter relationship, as it is explained by the mother in this quote: “I know she hates me.

Our relationship is down to her sending me money (...) I know the money she sends is a way to stay away and quiet down the little conscience she’s got left.” (p. 11 ll. 127-132) This somewhat clarifies the extent of harshness treatment Lula Ann received, and how it may have affected her emotionally.

It’s implied that Lula Ann is sending her money out of pity and that their relationship is strained, because of the mother’s treatment of her. This is also further supported by this quote: “what you do to children matters.

And they might never forget.

As soon as she could, she left me all alone in that awful apartment.” (p. 10 ll. 106-108) this quote makes it quite evident that their relationship is quite strained and possibly irreparable. Lula Ann also sends her a letter without an address on it, so the mother couldn’t contact her.

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