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Literature Study GuidesMeridianPart 1 Section 7 Summary

Meridian | Study Guide

Alice Walker

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Meridian | Part 1, Section 7 : Meridian (English Walnuts) | Summary



Chapter 7 is set during the years of Meridian's adolescence when she becomes sexually active. Having been told nothing about sex by anyone, she simply falls into a passive, accepting role whenever her boyfriends want her to. She is shocked when she becomes pregnant at 16, after having sex with one lover almost daily since age 14.

His name is Eddie, and he marries her. She describes him as a "high school hero type" and "a good boy." He gives her sanctuary from other males and their pursuit of her. Although Meridian is expelled from school because she is pregnant, Eddie does not drop out. He supports them, with the help of his parents, by working at a restaurant. Meridian and Eddie live in a small house and have a simple life together. But as more details about their life are revealed it becomes obvious that something is very wrong. Meridian does not want the baby and never much thinks about the life growing inside her. She doesn't think much of Eddie either, not minding when he takes a lover.

Meridian also recalls some abusive sexual overtures she puts up with from the owner of the local funeral parlor, George Daxter, and his assistant. In their community, it was common for people to visit the funeral home on Saturdays to view the bodies of those who had died that week. When Meridian was 12, Daxter started touching her, luring her with candy. By age 15 she was getting money from him for putting up with much more aggressive assaults. If Daxter wasn't at the business when she visited, his young assistant regularly tried to seduce her. She never gave in, but she did watch him successfully take another schoolgirl.


From girlhood Meridian is apparently detached from sex and from the needs of men. She gets no pleasure from sexual interactions, but she seems willing enough to do whatever males want her to do sexually. She likes having one steady boyfriend because it relieves her from having to put energy into saying no. As explained at the end of this chapter, Meridian "never had any intention of giving in. She was suspicious of pleasure."

This profile of Meridian should help readers understand the otherworldly quality she has. She never does seem to quite live fully in the world. Like Feather Mae, Meridian disavows anything but an existence on a higher, spiritual level. She cannot feel much physically, not even the child growing inside her.

That Meridian becomes pregnant so young and is taken from her rightful place in the world is notable. This is, after all, what she has felt guilty for doing to her mother by being the child her mother never wanted.

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