“Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.”
Neale Hurston, Zora. Their eyes were watching God. Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition, 2006. 1.
It’s interesting how this passage starts off with the division of men and women. It shows how dreams are interpreted to men and how they are for women. The beginning of the book starts off as Genesis when they describe the fall of man and woman. It shows the difference between men and women and stresses on the dreams that they each hold.
“The worst, he said, were the women with dead babies. You couldn’t get the women to give up their dead babies. They’d have babies dead for six days. Wouldn’t give them up. Nothing you could do about it”
E. Hemingway. In Our Time. “On the Quai at Smyrna”. New York: Scribner. 2003. Print. p.11
This passage depicts the relationship of mothers and their children. It is both a horrifying and a loving portrayal about mothers and their babies. It is horrifying because they are holding onto the body of their babies that no longer live; however, it is also loving because they cannot separate from the beings they gave life to. This was an interesting passage because it suggest such a strong bond between mothers and their children.
“I certainly am always right Melanctha Herbert, the way I certainly always have been when I knows it, to you. No Melanctha, it just is you never can have no kind of a way to act right, the way a decent girl has to do, and I done my best always to be telling it to you Melanctha Herbert, but it don’t never do no good to tell nobody how to act right; they certainly never can learn when they ain’t got no sense right to know it, and you never have no sense right Melanctha to be honest, and I ain’t never wishing you no harm to you ever Melanctha Herbert, only I don’t never want any more to see you come here” (69).
Stein, Gertrude. Melanctha. Three Lives. 1909 p. 69. http://www.bartleby.com/74/21.html
Melanctha and Rose represents two different social groups. Although Rose is far from being a housewife, she sees herself play the traditional safe role which is to be the perfect housewife and mother. She also conforms to the typical black stereotypes. They are not supposed to be educated like the white folks etc. Melanctha on the other hand plays the rebellious side. She is sexually liberated, does not conform to the traditional stereotypes that are pinned on women and the African Americans. She struggles to fulfill this liberation for women and colored people. She does not want to be the perfect housewife or mother. She wants to live her own life and be her own person. Rose sees this side rebellious side of Melanctha as a negative thought and freaks out since she does not want to conform. She believes women should fulfill the traditional role. That is why she keeps telling Melanctha what to do and how to act. Rose believes that women and African Americans should remain in their places and let the white people stereotype each race and gender.