Brown Girl, Brownstones Quotes


"'Think of your Catholic sinning, his exquisite guilt on his way to the confessional—only to rush from there to sin again and suffer.'"

Selina, Book 4

As an immigrant, Selina has a unique objectivity about the religions of her peers in school. She can see a certain hypocrisy in their white culture which would be intolerable in her own. In this quote she explains to a friend in simple terms why she thinks confession is a silly ritual. She does not see actual spiritual connotations for these people's actions. She is, however, guilty of passing judgement upon an entire group based upon a few examples.

"Perhaps everyone had his tomb: the mother hunched over the table all night might be locked in hers, her father, stretched on the cot, might have been sealed his his, just as she was shut within the lonely region of herself."

Selina, Book 4

Selina's main complaint in life is loneliness. She doesn't accept herself and is not accepted by those around her, so she is somewhat of a misanthrope. Life is a burden to her. Looking around at her family, she realizes that they may feel similarly. Maybe everybody feels lonely inside but is unable to express it.

"A wide bar of light from the hall made a path for them and the rich colors of their laughter painted the darkness."

Narrator, Book 4

This is an example of the rich imagery of Marshall's writing. He adeptly uses his words to help readers visibly engage with the story. Not only are light and dark used to create tension in this sentence but the light also forms a path for the girls, one linked to ascension. Readers can subconsciously make connections between the light from the doorway and fate calling the girls down the hall.

"Beryl's life was planned, ordered, while her was as vague and formless as mist."

Silla, Book 4

Silla holds a firm commitment to her Barbadoan roots. She adamantly believes in the power of fate in her life and those of others. When Beryl proves to be a problem for Selina, Silla explains that all of Beryl's life has been laid out since before her birth. She speaks about order in the world being superior to apparent chaos and uncertainty.

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