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IMPORTANT QUOTATIONS/QUOTES (continued)
6. “Even if you forget everything else I want you to always remember that you are a person of value, and you have a friend who loved you enough to give you his most valued possession.” (155)-Anton
Anton says this to Patty when he gives her his ring, just before he leaves. This is an emotional moment for Patty because no one has expressed love to her, let alone give her “his most valued possession” (155). After Anton gives Patty his ring, her confidence increases and she realizes that she is a valuable person.
7. “...that’s no little kid, never has been, ‘cause when she was born her brain was bigger than yours is now” (177) -Harry Bergen
Harry says this to the FBI agent interviewing Patty about Anton. It is evident that Patty’s father acknowledges and may even be proud, of Patty’s intelligence. Although, he does not display this through affection, it is possible that Harry takes out his frustrations on Patty because he feels that she is so intelligent and he can’t give her what she wants. Mr. Bergen is a terrible and belligerent father, but we now see that he may actually be proud of Patty’s intelligence and even respect her.
8. “...you have embarrassed Jews everywhere. Because your loyalty is questionable, then every Jew’s loyalty is in question” (205)- Mr. Kishner
This statement also illustrates the conflict between the Jewish and the Germans, during WWII. Since the Germans were initiating mass genocide of the Jews in Europe, the Americans, especially the Jewish Americans were extremely hateful towards Germans. Since Patty is Jewish, Mr. Kishner is telling her that she has betrayed her country as well as her religion, by housing Anton.
9. “I ain’t nevah ‘fore cast me no ‘spersions on other folks’ folks, but your folks ain’t nevah gonna feel nothing good regarding you. And they ain’t the number one best quality folks neither. They shore ain’t. When I goes shoppin’ and I sees the label stamped, ‘irregular’ or ‘seconds’ then I know I won’t have to pay so much for it. But you’ve got yourself some irregular seconds folks and you’ve been paying more’n top dollar for them, so jest don’t go a-wishing for what ain’t nevah gonna be” (221) - Ruth
What Ruth means by this quote is that Patty’s parents are not good people. Ruth is a genuine woman who would never talk ill of other people’s family, but she decided to tell Patty how she feels about Pearl and Harry. She says that they are not “the number one best quality folks” and that they are “irregular”. This is ironic because if something is not of a best quality or is irregular it is considered less valuable. Patty’s parents have gone the entire novel making Patty feel this way, when in reality, it really is Pearl and Harry Bergen who are the people of less value, not Patty.
Ruth also tells Patty that she has been expending too much time and energy into trying to please her parents and trying to get them to love her. Ruth is honest in saying to Patty that this may never happen and she should stop wasting her time trying to please such people. When Ruth tells Patty this, it appears that Patty finally understands just how much value and potential she has, without her parents love and approval.
10. “...things don’t get no better for old colored ladies” (228)- Ruth
This is a very powerful line, which captures the essence of the novel and also brings about the resolution of the story. Throughout the novel Patty had found comfort and safety in Ruth because Ruth loved Patty very much and served as a mother to her. It seems that is the first time in the novel where Patty truly believes in herself and her value. Patty and Ruth discuss how Patty can go off to high school and then college to become a reporter.
Patty realizes that she must, in a way, give up Ruth to go on and pursue a life that will truly make her happy and successful. Just like any child who leaves home to attend college or move away from home to accept a job, Patty must leave the person she loves, and who has been a mother to her. This is not to be taken literally that Patty will never see Ruth again. It is more the notion that Patty is growing up; she now has the confidence to find herself and love herself and she knows that she cannot do that remaining with Ruth, especially because of the difference in class between the Caucasians and African Americans during this time period.
Edition: This edition was published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Putnam, Inc., 2003