Song of Solomon
Women and Femininity Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Milkman looked at his sisters. He had never been able to really distinguish them (or their roles) from his mother. They were in their early teens when he was born; they were thirty-five and thirty-six now. But since Ruther was only sixteen years older than Lena, all three had always looked the same age to him. Now when he met his sisters’ eyes over the table, they returned him a look of hatred so fresh, so new, it startled him. Their pale eyes no longer appeared to blur into their even paler skin. It seemed to him as though charcoal lines had been drawn around their eyes; that two drag lines had been smudged down their cheeks, and their rosy lips were swollen in hatred so full it was about to burst through. Milkman had to blink twice before their faces returned to the vaguely alarmed blandness he was accustomed to. (1.3.68)
The women folk in Milkman’s life appear to him indistinguishable. It’s interesting that he doesn’t discuss their personalities, that he’s not interested in what lies beneath their anger-swollen beauty that magically morphs back to blandness with the blink of an eye.
The women in the wine house were indifferent to nothing and understood nothing. Every sentence, every word, was new to them and they listened to what he said like bright-eyed ravens, trembling in their eagerness to catch and interpret every sound in the universe. (1.3.79)
Curiosity defines Pilate’s house, and it seems to not exist in the Dead’s house.
Hagar lowered her eyelids and gazed hungrily down the figure of the woman who had been only a silhouette to her. The woman who slept in the same house with him, and who could call him home and he would come, who knew the mystery of his flesh, had memory of him as long as his life. […] Jealously loomed so large in her it made her tremble. (1.5.137)
We never see the "chorus" of grandmothers, mothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and girlfriends that Guitar reflects upon in the world of Song. The relationship between women is not as fleshed out or explored. And, here, we get a glimpse of two women relating to each other, and the moment is tinged with jealousy.