If Beale Street Could Talk Symbols & Objects

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Names

At the beginning of the book, when Tish's narration establishes that both she and Fonny go by nicknames rather than the names they have been given, it metaphorically suggest that they have at least two layers of identity and circumstance. The first is how they are to each other and their family in their inner lives (i.e. intimate, friendly, treated with respect and love); the second is how they are to a large segment of the outside world (i.e. as danger, as lesser human beings, as objects of disgust). This outside perspective is, with a few exceptions, held by what those who hold the inside perspective see as racism-defined white society. The point is not made to suggest that those in that outer society call Tish and Fonny by their given names (Clementine and Alonzo), which is not the case. Instead, the point is...

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This section contains 1,450 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the If Beale Street Could Talk Study Guide
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