Saturday, January 14, 2023

Mugging and "the odor of scared children" in Toni Morrison's "Home" (2012)

In Toni Morrison's novel "Home" (2012), Frank Money walks down an Atlanta street in the evening: "Had he been alert instead of daydreaming, he would have recognized that reefer and gasoline smell, the rapid sneaker tread as well as the gang breath—the odor of scared children depending on group bravery." Like Frank, when I daydreamed down my block in Philadelphia in 1989 after going to the store to buy dishwashing detergent, I heard that "rapid sneaker tread", and then I found myself being mugged by two teenage boys in front of my house, one of whom, I now realize with Morrison's wonderful formulation, definitely had the "odor of scared children". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 14 January 2023)

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