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The chapter entitled "1922" opens with Nel and Sula walking to Edna Finch's ice cream parlor even though it is "too cool for ice cream." As they walk, young and old men alike appraise their twelve-year-old bodies. Finally, Ajax (who will later become Sula's lover) calls them "pig meat." While the phrase is certainly crude, Morrison's narrator calls the term a "compliment" and notes that Sula and Nel have to be careful not to show their "delight" at being noticed. The term "pig meat" suggests a dehumanization of the girls in the men's eyes, and the fact that the girls enjoy the remark suggest that Nel and Sula already have skewed views of sexuality and gender relations at their young age.
When the men are walking by and they are young this is very important because at this young age the men looking at them could be described as pedophiles and when they pass Ajax calls them "pig meat" and the girls for some reason seem extremely happy about this response. However, whoever is reading this will be confused because it seems like an insult, but their reaction exemplifies the difference of gender and race within the Bottom as well as the skewed views within.
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