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Quotes

Quote #1

To Dr. King's dream,
Which can only come true
If the very young know and understand.
(Dedication)

Taylor begins his novel with a dedication to Martin Luther King, Jr., a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. The dedication suggests that the book will explore race relationships and issues of equality.

Quote #2

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)

Before he goes blind, Phillip gives us a physical description of Timothy, emphasizing how big and scary he is. What do you notice about the words Phillip chooses to describe Timothy? For example, why does he compare Timothy's teeth to an "alabaster trench" and his lips to a "conch shell"? What effect do these phrases have?

Quote #3

Although I hadn't thought so before, I was now beginning to believe that my mother was right. She didn't like them. She didn't like it when Henrik and I would go down to St. Anna Bay and play near the schooners. But it was always fun. The black people would laugh at us and toss us bananas or papayas. (3.59)

Phillip reveals that he has picked up negative ideas about black West Indians from his mother. Why doesn't she want her son to associate with the black people in Willemstad?

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