"Wake up there, boy!" Mr. Olin said one day.
"Sir!" I answered for the lack of a better word.
"You act like you’ve stolen something," he said. (1.13.77)
Yet I knew—with that part of my mind that the whites had given me—that none of my dreams was possible. Then I would hate myself for allowing my mind to dwell upon the unattainable. Thus the circle would complete itself. (2.15.39)
To solve this tangle of balked emotion, I loaded the empty part of the ship of my personality with fantasies of ambition to keep it from toppling over into the sea of senselessness. Like any other American, I dreamed of going into business and making money; I dreamed of working for a firm that would allow me to advance until I reached an important position; I even dreamed of organizing secret groups of blacks to fight all whites […]" (2.15.39)