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Updated: 10/29/2020
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  • Sweetnessby: Toni MorrisonShort storyFebruary 2, 2015
  • Mother:Sweetness
  • Main Characters
  • Daughter: Lula Ann
  • Father: Louis
  • Setting: 1990's in the United States. "Back in the nineties, when Lula Ann was born, the law was against discriminating in who you could rent to, but not many landlords paid attention to it. They made up reasons to keep you out. But I got lucky with Mr. Leigh, though I know he upped the rent seven dollars from what he’d advertised, and he had a fit if you were a minute late with the money" (Morrison 3).
  • Exposition: Sweetness gives birth to her child, and the child comes out with her skin tone being darker than her and her husband. This is a problem to them because they wanted there child to be as close to white as possible. The dad thinks she cheated and leaves her with a child by herself. The child is named Lula Ann after her mother Lula Mae.
  • Rising Action: Sweetness is very critical on her daughter because this is the only way she believes that she will be protected. Lula Ann refuses to listen to her mother.
  • Climax: Lula Ann perseveres on her own and starts to mature and make her own life decisions without her mother.
  • Irritable (adjective): easily irritated or annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger.“If I sound irritable, ungrateful, part of it is because underneath is regret” (Morrison6).
  • Mite (noun): a very small object or creature.“Things have changed a mite from when I was young” (Morrison 5).
  • Skimpy (adjective): lacking in size, fullness, etc.; scanty:"I guess meanness filled out their skimpy paychecks…” (Morrison 3).
  • Tone: Bitter. “All the little things I didn’t do or did wrong. I remember when she had her first period and how I reacted. Or the times I shouted when she stumbled or dropped something. True. I was really upset, even repelled by her black skin when she was born and at first I thought of . . . No” (Morrison 6).
  • Theme: Race, discrimination, and parenthood. “Now she’s pregnant. Good move, Lula Ann. If you think mothering is all cooing, booties, and diapers you’re in for a big shock. Big. You and your nameless boyfriend, husband, pickup—whoever—imagine, Oooh! A baby! Kitchee kitchee koo!”
  • Foreshadowing. “It’s not my fault. So you can’t blame me” (Morrison 1).
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