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The use of the seasons to divide the novel into four sections is a technique that is used by Morrison to defy expectations. The reader has a notion of what is normally associated with each of the seasons, but Morrison seems to deliberately go out of her way to produce the opposite. A classic example is spring, which is normally thought to be linked to renewal and new life. However, this season is linked in Claudia's mind with being whipped with new switches, and it is also when Pecola is raped. In autumn, or Fall, which is normally associated with the joys of harvest and abundance, Pecola's baby dies. Morrison does this in order to highlight the miserable and and lowly existence of her characters. Arguably, she also goes further than this and seems to suggest that nature itself is opposed to the characters, as the following quote suggests:
It never occurred to either of us that the earth itself might have been unyielding. We had dropped our seeds in our own little plot of black dirt just as Pecola’s father had dropped his seeds in his own plot of black dirt. Our innocence and faith were no more productive than his lust or despair
Claudia is here referring to the marigold seeds that did not grow that year, but the analogy also leads her to think of Pecola and the reasons for her suffering and misery. It is perhaps the "earth itself" that is to blame, or the way that nature is shown to have set her face against the characters to a certain extent. The use of the four seasons therefore highlights the importance of nature in this novel, and is used to underline the hardships and misery of the characters through the way that Morrison refuses to meet our expectations of what we associate with the seasons.
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