Song of Solomon
How we cite our quotes:
They alone had a sense of adventure and were flagrant in their enjoyment of the automobile’s plushness. Each had a window to herself and commanded an unobstructed view of the summer day flying past them. […] In the back seat, away from the notice of Macon and Ruth, they slipped off their patent leather pumps, rolled their stockings down over their knees, and watched the men walking down the streets. (1.2.31)
Lena and Corrie’s big excitement is sitting in the car and looking out the window. This is as close as they get to forging their own paths in the world (until Corrie breaks free). Here we see them push the envelope of Macon’s rules by stripping off the clothes that confine them, but shedding their propriety. Though they don’t actually explore, they command the scenery that passes by, like an explorer commanding an expedition.
When Reba was two years old, Pilate was seized with restlessness. It was as if her geography book had marked her to roam the country, planting her feet in each pink, yellow, blue or green state. She left the island and began the wandering life that she kept up for the next twenty-some-odd years, and stopped only after Reba had a baby. (1.5.148)
Pilate loves geography, and we have to imagine that throughout all of these travels, she meets a lot of people. And even if she is ostracized for her lack of bellybutton, she surely encounters the outcasts of society wherever she goes. In this light, it’s amazing that Pilate says in her final moments that she wishes she could have known more people. At this moment, we see her explorer self has never left, and that her reasons for exploring have to do with wanting to spread the love.
Throughout the fresh, if common, pursuit of knowledge, one conviction crowned her efforts: since death held no terrors for her (she spoke often to the dead), she knew there was nothing to fear. (1.5.149)
Pilate’s a good explorer because she laughs in the face of danger. She explores life in the same way that she explores herself.