Explore how the author presents Marguerite in this passage.
The author presents Marguerite as a “Southern Black girl,” who was “aware of her displacement.” Marguerite considers herself different from others, and she does not want to let go of her individuality. “The truth of the statement was like a wadded up handkerchief” for Maya. It was an unpleasant feeling. The first two lines, where the author starts with Maya reciting a poem; convey the unified theme of the book. “‘What you looking at me for? I didn’t come to stay…’” is evocative of the lack of permanency in her life. It also conveys a sense of irritation, maybe with her own sensitivity. Marguerite’s sense of displacement adds to her insecurity. Marguerite feels her displacement keenly, it is like a “wadded up handkerchief” held tightly within a clenched fist, and the feeling is unpleasant. The author ends the passage by adding to the theme of displacement. Due to the distance between Marguerite, and the white girls, they seem exciting and glamorous to her. She thought that once she put on her “lavender taffeta,” she would look like one of the sweet little white girls who were everybody’s dream of what was right with the world.” Since she is a “southern black girl,” and she is “aware of her displacement,” she can never live her life with a moment of happiness. As Marguerite considers herself “a too-big Negro girl,” she clings on to her dream of being a white girl. “The dress” she wore symbolized what she wanted to achieve, the thrill of being a beautiful white girl, but Marguerite was “sucking in air to breathe out shame.” This shows us how the dress symbolized what Maya was really feeling, shamefulness. The character of Marguerite has a lack of permanency in her life, which makes her angry as well as frustrated. The violent images emphasize the intensity of Marguerite’s frustration, anger and humiliation, caused by the gap between reality and expectations. Her frustration...
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