| Quote #1
Outdoors, we knew, was the real terror of life. The threat of being outdoors surfaced frequently in those days. Every possibility of excess was curtailed with it. (1.1.28)
Homelessness is an ever-present reality for working-class blacks in Lorain.
| Quote #2
There is a difference between being put out and being put outdoors. If you are put out, you go somewhere else; if you are outdoors, there is no place to go. The distinction was subtle but final....Knowing that there was such a thing as outdoors bred in us a hunger for property, for ownership. (1.1.19)
This passage illuminates a central difference between the MacTeers and the Breedloves. The MacTeers are striving, and since they have never owned property, it is a symbol of economic and racial independence for them. The Breedloves, in contrast, are constantly on the verge of losing and/or destroying their home.
| Quote #3
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)
Morrison continually stresses that the Breedloves' poverty is not just temporary. Here she highlights that it is multidimensional: not only their race but their self-hatred and psychological issues keep them down.