How we cite our quotes:
It was not death or dying that frightened him, but the unexpectedness of both. In sorting it all out, he hit on the notion that if one day a year were devoted to it, everybody could get it out of the way and the rest of the year would be safe and free. In this manner he instituted National Suicide Day. (1919.23)
Shadrack makes the choice to try to control the uncontrollable. Instead of letting his life be dictated by outside forces, he chooses the path his life will take by seeking power over what scares him the most.
"I don't know," her mother said. I don't talk Creole. . . . And neither do you." (1920.63)
Helene thinks that by refusing to speak Creole, by refusing to admit this part of her heritage, she can erase the past. This raises the question of whether or not we can choose which parts of our personal history to maintain. Is our past something we can pick and choose for ourselves, or is it something we can never escape?
"Me," she murmured. And then, sinking deeper into the quilts, "I want . . . I want to be . . . wonderful.. . ." (1920.72)
Nel realizes that she can make the choice about who she wants to be, about her own identity. In this moment, she controls her own identity instead of letting it be determined by her parents.