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There are many scenes and references that allude to the sexual mistreatment of little girls, a theme that will pervade the novel and come to a tragic climax when Cholly rapes his daughter Pecola.
First, when Claudia and Frieda beat up Rosemary in the first chapter of "Autumn," Rosemary asks if they "want her to pull her pants down," suggesting that she has been sexualized in some way. Secondly, Claudia confesses in the same chapter that she and her sister love Mr. Henry despite "what came later" in their relationship with him (he molests Frieda). Thirdly, Pecola is mocked by the boys at school with the taunt "ya daddy sleeps nekked." Most interestingly, Morrison uses subtle sexual imagery when she discusses the Mary Jane candies that Pecola craves: "The resistant sweetness that breaks open at last to deliver peanut butter--the oil and salt which complement the sweet pull of caramel. A peal of anticipation unsettles [Pecola's] stomach."
These and other sexual references unsettle the reader's stomach as well.
Another example of foreshadowing comes when the narrator describes the dog outside Soaphead Church's home. The decrepit nature of the dog suggests that some harm will befall it to put it out of its misery.
Before the narrative action even starts, there is a passage about Claudia and Frieda's seeds failing to sprout, and Pecola's baby dying. We know exactly what will happen in the book before it begins.
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