Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 446
The sexual excitement of bringing the two women together entered him as a tincture, curling cloudy in a glass of water.
She reminds me of pig. Our ancestors didn't eat pig.
In the above quotes, we see Will and Sonny's thoughts juxtaposed. For Sonny, his affair is both an intellectual and sexual union. He believes that Hannah represents everything he wants in a woman. Sonny justifies his disloyalty to Aila by rationalizing that Hannah is a partner in the black resistance movement.
To Sonny, his clandestine work in the movement supports his passion for meaningful political and economic change. In addition, he sees his affair with Hannah as a powerful demonstration of his masculine virility. With Hannah, he is both a lover and activist, not just a father and husband.
Sonny's euphoria, however, isn't shared by Will, his teenage son. To Will, Hannah is a usurper. He equates her to a pig, something that his ancestors didn't eat.
Will finds himself in an unenviable position when Sonny entrusts him with the secret of his affair with Hannah. He becomes angry and resentful. Eventually, Will also begins to harbor contempt for Sonny's weakness and disloyalty. Ironically, just when Will needs his father to be the adult, Sonny begins to act more like a teenage confidant in an unsavory drama.
What had Aila done to assuage his anguish at Baby's attempt to end her life before it had begun? Nothing. Silence. Silence upon the other silence. Comfort and understanding he had had to find elsewhere.
In the above quote, Sonny reveals a major reason for his alienation from Aila. Sonny is the kind of man who needs his female partner to reinforce his relevance. To Sonny, Hannah is the perfect woman, not because she's more beautiful than Aila but because she instinctively understands his emotional needs.
It was my mother who had talked under interrogation. I know why she did. It was to be sure neither her husband nor I would be held responsible.
In the above quote, Will refers to his father as his mother's husband. This is significant in that it demonstrates how much Sonny's affair has destroyed Will's respect for him. When she is arrested and interrogated, Aila doesn't incriminate Sonny. Instead, she takes responsibility for the munitions (hand grenades and limpet mines) found.
To Will, Aila is not just a self-sacrificing mother, she is also a warrior of the cause his father supposedly supports. Additionally, despite her own heartache at Sonny's affair, Aila never disappoints Will. She protects him, unlike Sonny, who exposes him to the sordidness of his affair. So, to Will, his mother is a victim, someone he must in turn protect.