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Quotes

Quote #1

It was as if he couldn't get religion and that galloping cavalry and his dead grandfather shot from the galloping horse untangled from each other, even in the pulpit. And that he could not untangle them in his private life, at home either, perhaps. (3.7)

For much of the novel, Hightower blames his family for his own pitfalls and failures.

Quote #2

I had seen and known negroes since I could remember. I just looked at them as I did at rain, or furniture, or food or sleep. But after that I seemed to see them for the first time not as people, but as a thing, a shadow in which I lived, we lived, all white people, all other people. I thought of all the children coming forever and ever into the world, white, with the black shadow already falling upon them before they draw breath. (11.12)

Joanna Burden explains how she internalizes her dad's concept of black people representing the sins of white people.

Quote #3

In order to rise, you must raise the shadow with you. (11.21).

Miss Burden believes that the only way to remove the fateful "curse" of blackness is to help black people advance in society. It's a strange motivation for a liberal.

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