Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 430
Here are some quotes from Soul on Ice:
In the process of enduring my confinement, I decided to get myself a pin-up girl to paste on the wall of my cell. I would fall in love with her and lavish my affections upon her. She, a symbolic representative of the tribe of forbidden women, would sustain me until I was free. (5)
When Eldridge Cleaver is in prison, he tapes a picture of a white woman to the wall of his cell, but the white prison guard tears it down and says Cleaver can only put up a picture of black women. Cleaver knows that he is attracted to white women because they are forbidden to him as a black man. He rapes black women, and later white women, in a misguided attempt to get back at white society for the racism that makes white women forbidden to black men.
I flew into a rage at myself, at America, at white women, at the history that had placed those tensions of lust and desire in my heart. (30)
When Cleaver sees a photo of the woman who accused Emmett Till of raping her, later resulting in Till's death at the hands of white men, Cleaver is attracted to her. He feels enraged that he is attracted to the woman who caused Till's death, and he realizes the depth to which racism has invaded his soul. He writes about the way in which whites have indoctrinated blacks with their standards, including their beauty standards.
That is why I started to write. To save myself. (34)
Cleaver speaks about why he raped women—first black women and then white women—to get back at the white system of racism. He later realizes that his actions are wrong, and he turns to writing instead. He sees writing as a form of catharsis and of figuring out who he is in a country that has been saturated by racism.
The men most alienated from the mind, least diluted by the admixture of the Mind, will be perceived as the most masculine manifestation of the Body: the Supermasculine Menials. (212)
Cleaver analyzes the way in which blacks in America have been distanced from the life of the mind, while whites have been distanced from the life of the body. He says that under slavery, blacks became the embodiment of the body, and they were not allowed to connect to their minds. Women have been the pawns in this battle, and white women are considered the property of white men, while black women are considered the property of black men.