I had learned to know these people better in five hours than I had learned to know my own family in five years.
Later, after I had grown to understand the peasant mentality of Bess and her mother, I learned the full degree to which my life at home had cut me off, not only from white people but from Negroes as well. (1.11.110)
I wanted a life in which there was a constant oneness of feeling with others, in which the basic emotions of life were shared, in which common memory formed a common past, in which collective hope reflected a national future.(2.15.170)
And I knew that my words sounded wild and foolish in my environment, where reading was almost unknown, where the highest item of value was a dime or a dollar, an apartment or a job; where, if one aspired at all, it was to be a doctor or a lawyer, a shopkeeper or a politician. […] I never criticized them or praised them, yet they felt in my neutrality a deeper rejection of them than if I had cursed them. (2.15.178)