| Quote #1
The Breedloves did not live in a storefront because they were having temporary difficulty adjusting to the cutbacks at the plant. They lived there because they were poor and black, and they stayed there because they believed they were ugly. (1.2.1)
The Breedloves internalize black self-hatred.
| Quote #2
I hated Shirley. Not because she was cute, but because she danced with Bojangles, who was my friend, my uncle, my daddy, and who ought to have been soft-shoeing it and chuckling with me. Instead he was enjoying, sharing, giving a lovely dance thing with one of those little white girls whose socks never slid down under their heels. (1.1.35)
Claudia revolts against the tyranny of Shirley Temple and white beauty.
| Quote #3
Being a minority in both caste and class, we moved about anyway on the hem of life, struggling to consolidate our weaknesses and hang on, or to creep singly up into the major folds of the garment. (1.1.29)
The working-class African-American characters in the novel just barely struggle to survive.