| Quote #1
He crawled over toward me. His face couldn't have been blacker, or his teeth whiter. They made an alabaster trench in his mouth, and his pink-purple lips peeled back over them like the meat of a conch shell. He had a big welt, like a scar, on his left cheek. I knew he was West Indian. I had seen many of them in Willemstad, but he was the biggest one I'd ever seen. (3.17)
Phillip describes Timothy's physical appearance here, emphasizing how big and scary he is. What do you notice about Phillip's choice of words? Why does he compare Timothy's teeth to an "alabaster trench" and his lips to a "conch shell"? What effect do these phrases have on us as readers?
| Quote #2
Once, our bodies touched. We both drew back, but I drew back faster. In Virginia, I knew they'd always lived in their sections of town, and us in ours. A few times, I'd gone down through the shacks of colored town with my father. They sold spicy crabs in one shack, I remember. (4.3)
Phillip describes his segregated hometown back in Virginia. How has racial segregation shaped Phillip's reaction to Timothy?
| Quote #3
I'll never forget that first hour of knowing I was blind. I was so frightened that it was hard for me to breathe. It was as if I'd been put inside something that was all dark and I couldn't get out. (4.64)
Once Timothy goes blind, he can no longer judge people, places, or things by their appearance. Why is Phillip frightened by this? What does the darkness symbolize, in your opinion?