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.
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