Study Guide

Beale Street Love Gender

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Is a brown man's fist (1-2)

Wait. It is? Since when? Since Beale Street, apparently. What's interesting here is that this concept of love leaves women completely out of the picture. That is, unless they are on the receiving end of a punch. It's a bleak view of love and a bleak view of gender roles, to say the least.

Crushing the lips,
Blackening the eyes (3-4)

Now we get the whole picture. The male fist crushes the features of the female face.

Hit me again,
Says Clorinda (6-7)

This is one doozy of a line. Clorinda is issuing a command, but before you go thinking she has seized some of the power in this relationship, remember that the bottom line is she is abused. Her husband exerts emotional control over her, too, so it's possible she is merely capitulating. Maybe she has resigned herself to her awful fate. Or maybe she thinks, for whatever reason, that she deserves the abuse. Whatever the case, one thing is sure: this line is one tough nut to crack.

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