The Women of Brewster Place

by Gloria Naylor
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Why does Lorraine kill Ben in The Women of Brewster Place?

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Lorraine has developed a close and friendly relationship with Ben, the oldest resident and janitor of the Brewster Place apartment complex. While just about everyone else at the complex rejects Lorraine because of her sexuality, Ben is kind and sympathetic. He tells Lorraine the sad story of his daughter who ended up getting involved with prostitution after being forced to sleep with her white landlord.

Lorraine's growing friendship with Ben allows her to become more self-confident. But just when it seems that her life is getting better things start to go disastrously wrong. One night, Lorraine was coming home from a party which she attended without her partner Theresa. She and Theresa had a fight earlier. In a dark alley near to the apartment complex, she was suddenly confronted by a gang of hoodlums who had previously insulted her about her sexuality. They attack Lorraine, subjecting her to a brutal gang-rape and leaving her for dead.

The following morning, Lorraine manages to get up just as the sun is rising. After stumbling down the alley she sees Ben. She picks up a brick and smashes his skull with it. Though it's impossible to know for sure, it would seem that Lorraine kills Ben due to the enormous trauma she's sustained from being attacked. The balance of Lorraine's mind has been disturbed by her terrifying ordeal. So when she sees Ben coming, it might be possible that she mistook him for one of her attackers and was seeking revenge.

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