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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

They were so different, these two women. One black, the other lemony. One corseted, the other buck naked under her dress. One well read but ill traveled. The other had read only a geography book. But had been from one end of the country to another. One wholly dependent on money for life, the other indifferent to it. But those were the meaningless things. Their similarities were profound. Both were vitally interested in Macon Dead’s son, and both had close and supportive post-humous communication with their fathers. (1.5.139)

Ruth and Pilate could not be more different, but both exist on the periphery of the worlds to which they belong.

Quote #8

"You don’t know a single thing about either one of us – we made roses; that’s all you knew – but now you know what’s best for the very woman who wiped the dribble from your chin because you were too young to know how to spit. Our girlhood was spent like a found nickel on you. […] And to this day, you have never asked one of us if we were tired, or sad, or wanted a cup of coffee. […] Where do you get the right to decide our lives?" (1.9.215)

Milkman really has never been curious about what kind of people his sisters are. He understands them only through their actions and their appearance.

Quote #9

He hadn’t thought much of it when she’d told him, but now it seemed to him that such sexual deprivation would affect her, hurt her in precisely the way it would affect and hurt him, hurt her in precisely the way it would affect and hurt him. If it were possible for somebody to force him to live that way, to tell him, ‘You may walk and live among women, you may even lust after them, but you will not make love for the next twenty years," how would he feel? […] His mother had been able to live through that by a long nursing of her son, some occasional visits to a graveyard. What might she have been like had her husband loved her? (2.12.300)

Having sex or being able to express oneself sexually seems to be integral to being and feeling alive in the world of Song. The women who are deprived of sex or physical affection in Song walk the line between life and death. Interestingly, the only people deprived of sex in this novel are women. Macon may have stopped sleeping with his wife, but he has other options around Southside.

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