If Beale Street Could Talk Troubled About My Soul: Section 3 Summary
by James Baldwin

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Troubled About My Soul: Section 3 Summary

Ernestine and Tish go to a bar to discuss a strategy for freeing Fonny. Ernestine believes that Mrs. Rogers was indeed raped, but that she misidentified Fonny based on the police officer’s claim. In fact, Ernestine thinks Mrs. Rogers has no idea who raped her, but it is easier for her to agree that Fonny is the perpetrator rather than confront the fact that she is unsure.

Ernestine suggests that it is unlikely that Mrs. Rogers will change her testimony. So, instead of wasting their time, Ernestine says they should try to discredit Bell as a witness. Ernestine has spoken with Bell’s wife, who hates her husband because of his years-long physical abuse of her. Ernestine has also spoken to the mother of a young Black boy whom Bell shot and killed. Ernestine believes that having both of these women in the courtroom will cause Bell to crack under pressure.

Tish, however, thinks Ernestine’s plan seems far-fetched. Ernestine then suggests that they ask Sharon to go to Puerto Rico, because she is the only person with a chance at changing Mrs. Rogers’s mind. Just before they leave the bar, Tish feels the baby kick for the first time.

At the same time that Tish and Ernestine are talking, Joe and Frank are hanging out in a bar. Joe explains to Frank that both of them must do whatever it takes to continue paying for Fonny’s lawyer, as it is their responsibility as fathers to look after their children. Joe encourages Frank to engage in illegal activities to earn extra money for this purpose. This includes stealing and selling goods from their respective employers.

Tish and Sharon visit Hayward for the second time. Hayward’s attitude has changed since their first appointment, largely because representing Fonny has garnered attention from others in the legal community. Instead of scaring Hayward, this attention has deepened his commitment to proving Fonny’s innocence. He prepares Sharon for her upcoming trip to Puerto Rico, telling her that she will have to visit a favela and meet with a man named Pietro Alvarez, with whom Mrs. Rogers is allegedly staying. Hayward also says that the Hunt women have been speaking with the District Attorney, saying that Fonny has always been bad.

Tish then recalls the night her baby was conceived, which was after she and Fonny finally found a loft. A man named Levy enthusiastically offers the young couple a top floor loft in a warehouse, because he is impressed with how much in love Tish and Fonny are. Tish mentions that after Fonny was arrested, Levy agreed to hold the loft until they could pay the deposit and sort out their affairs.

On their way home from the meeting with Levy, Tish and Fonny stop at a neighborhood grocery store so that Tish can buy some fresh tomatoes. While she shops, Fonny goes to a nearby convenience store to buy cigarettes. Alone, Tish gets nervous when a young Italian “junkie” gropes her and makes sexual remarks about her. She tries to get away from the man before Fonny returns, but the man persists.

When Fonny sees the man harassing Tish, Fonny threatens and eventually assaults the man in front of the store. As this occurs, Tish notices a police officer across the street approaching them. She uses her body to restrain Fonny while she talks to the officer, whose name is Bell. Bell tries to arrest Fonny for assault and battery, but the owner of the grocery store comes to Fonny’s defense. The grocer says that Tish is telling the officer the truth, and she challenges Bell to arrest an innocent young man who did nothing wrong.

Although they argue on their walk home, Tish and Fonny are excited about their future together. To celebrate the loft, they have dinner at the Spanish restaurant, and even though they have no money, the friendly owners allow the couple to dine on credit. Tish comments that the restaurant now claims to have lost the bill for that dinner, since Fonny has been in jail. That night, Tish says they make love differently, and she immediately feels like she will...

(The entire section is 1,211 words.)