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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

In that way, they regarded integration with the precisely the same venom that white people did. (1939.3)

The men in the Bottom accuse Sula of sleeping with white men, and this very possibility elicits fury. The only way the townspeople can tolerate the idea of a white man and a black woman sleeping together is if the woman is raped. The black residents of the Bottom have no wish to interact with white people.

Quote #8

Ajax didn't seem too bothered by any of it. More annoyed and inconvenienced than anything else. He had had several messes with the police, mostly in gambling raids, and regarded them as the natural hazards of Negro life. (1939.107)

Ajax's experiences invoke the idea of institutional racism. Policemen are part of a larger institution, and their individual racism is part of a larger system of prejudice and discrimination.

Quote #9

" . . . I know what every colored woman in this country is doing." "What's that?" "Dying." (1940.50-10.52)

Sula's statement also suggests a larger system of racism. She declares that women of color are struggling to survive in the United States, and losing the struggle. That should prompt us to ask ourselves why.

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