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Last Updated on August 7, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 526

Growing up in South Carolina, three sisters feel how tightly their lives are intertwined even as they realize their unique gifts. Under the stern guidance of their mother, Hilda, the young Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo chart individual courses from an early age. Hilda believes that their environment influences these tendencies, saying some of her daughters have “too much South” in them.

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Indigo is often lost in an imaginary universe inhabited by the dolls with which she surrounds herself. She feels like they understand her as no mere human can, and she often hears them calling.

These creatures were still her companions, keeping pace with her changes, her moods and dreams, as no one else could. Indigo heard them talking to her in her sleep. Sometimes when someone else was talking, Indigo excused herself—her dolls were calling for her.

While all the family’s women are creative, Sassafrass is the one who continues their traditional occupation of weaving. Although for her it is an art form rather than a functional medium, she recognizes that she has a place in a line of weavers and associates this talent with female identity on the global scale. There is something about cloth-making that makes a mental space for women.

Sassafrass was certain of the necessity of her skill for the well-being of women everywhere, as well as for her own. As she passed the shuttle through the claret cotton warp, Sassafrass conjured images of women weaving from all time and all places . . .

Cypress expresses creativity through dance. Realizing that classical dance cannot express all that she feels, she begins to learn from African-American dancers about new forms that draw on old traditions. She thinks back to the not-so-distant time when her ancestors were enslaved and so their bodies were not their own. Cypress looks inside to consider how that lack of ownership influenced bodily presence, including posture and the kinds of losses women endured, such as having their babies...

(The entire section contains 526 words.)

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