Toni Morrison’s use of language throughout the novel gives her writing a sense of wit; it is easily understood by the reader, and acts as a subtle hint into the minds and emotions of the characters. Her use of innuendo speaks to a sexual theme, a common tension found among the main characters of the story. The final passage of Chapter 4 depicts a dialogue between Cee, and Sarah, sharing a ripened melon on a hot afternoon. The language used in this passage juxtaposes sexual vocabulary with the ruthlessness of Dr. Beau, as well as foreshadowing Cee’s abuse. Additionally, in the passage Morrison reflects upon Prince’s manipulation of Cee’s naivety. This passage represents Cee’s inability to form a healthy relationship with a male character. Portrayed as a “female melon,” Cee is “soft” in the hands of her former husband, and employer. Her vulnerability leads to her reconnection with Frank, relating to the overall idea of relationships throughout the novel. The strength of the relationship between Cee and Frank drives this reconnection, which fuels the plot. The only form of love Cee feels is found platonically, through the genuine relationship with her brother, Frank.
The language used to portray Cee as a ripened melon in the passage alludes to her helplessness. After Frank had deployed, a young Cee attempts to form a relationship with a visitor from Atlanta named Prince. The unique name of this character is not assigned at random; Cee’s naïve perception of Prince identifies him as an almost fairytale-like figure. She became impressed with his experience of places outside of Lotus, and with his conviction. He eventually “rescues” Cee from Lotus, and brings her to the city with seemingly little convincing necessary. Cee becomes under the impression that Prince is “too good for her,” and for these reasons, she is willing to tolerate “the great thing people warned about or giggled about,” despite her lack of interest (Morrison 48). She is, in...
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