Brown Girl, Brownstones

by Paule Marshall

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Why is Suggie fascinated with Selina in Brown Girl, Brownstones?

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I think Suggie sees Selina as an opportunity to help Selina discover who she is. Suggie knows how hard it is to be a black woman in a white, male-dominated society, and she sees how shy and frightened Selina is when she arrives from Barbados. She understands that Selina needs a friend and, even though Suggie is older, decides to become a mentor to her. Suggie's life as a prostitute probably isn't what she had plannned when she was Selina's age, and Suggie feels she can help Selina by giving her insight, strength, and the power of passion in Selina's process of self-discovery. She sees a little of herself in Selina and wishes someone had been there to help her perhaps.

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