Study Guide

Peggy in Lucy: A Novel

By Jamaica Kincaid

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Lucy first meets Peggy in the park and the two become buds and eventually even move in together. Peggy's kind of the rebel type:

Peggy smoked cigarettes, used slang, wore very tight jeans, did not comb her hair properly or often, wore shiny fake-snakeskin boots, and generally had such an air of mystery that it made people who did not know her well nervous. (3.17)

We can't help thinking that Peggy's rebellious appearance is a big part of what draws Lucy to her, given that Lucy likes to march to the beat of her own drum, too (plus, Mariah thinks she's a "bad influence" so, of course, this totally makes Lucy want to become her bestie).

It turns out, though, that Lucy and Peggy aren't actually all that similar. At first, Lucy is totally cool with the differences between herself and Peggy. She tells us,

The funny thing was that Peggy and I were not alike, either, but that is just what we liked about each other; what we didn't have in common were things we approved of anyway. She hated to read even a newspaper. She hated sunlight and wore sunshades all the time, even at night and indoors. (3.17)

The honeymoon period of Lucy's friendship with Peggy ends up being pretty short-lived. Peggy's differences soon start to drive Lucy nuts, and even though the two still hang out in the park checking out guys and go to parties together, Lucy admits:

The small differences between us were beginning to loom, sometimes becoming the only thing that mattered—like a grain of sand in the eye. (4.12)

Lucy's friendship with Peggy ends up telling us something pretty important about Lucy's character: even though she'd like to be accepted for her differences, she seems to have a pretty hard time truly accepting differences in others.

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