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How is Sex and sexuality portrayed in the novel? Are there both positive and negative...

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laos2o6 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 15, 2010 at 1:33 PM via web

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How is Sex and sexuality portrayed in the novel? Are there both positive and negative aspects of sex/sexuality?

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howesk | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted December 15, 2010 at 11:11 PM (Answer #1)

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In the novel, sexuality is a major theme.

Sexuality is regarded as a mystery when Pecola first menstruates at the beginning of the novel. The girls don't know exactly what is going on, but they regard the event with curiosity, and slight shame.

Sex is seen as shameful for Cholly as well, especially when his first sexual experience is described- having to "finish the job" in front of two white men.

Sexual abuse also runs throughout the novel, whether it be by Mr. Henry, Mr. Breedlove, or Mr. Soaphead Church, the pedophile.

The novel does hint, however, that sex has the potential to be something good. Pauline has a pseudo-positive view of sex, as she believes it gives her some power and she also enjoys orgasm. She describes orgasms in terms of colors. Geraldine also describes sexual pleasure she encounters when she is alone, by accident.

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