Literature Study GuidesMeridianPart 2 Section 21 Summary

Meridian | Study Guide

Alice Walker

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Meridian | Part 2, Section 21 : Truman Held (Tommy Odds) | Summary



This chapter gives a description of Lynne according to Tommy Odds' point of view. When Tommy first meets Lynne in Mississippi he thinks about her life with Truman, which he labels "content." He recognizes that "to her black people had a unique beauty, a kind of last-gasp loveliness." He wants to make love to her.

As he gets to know Lynne, however, Truman comes to truly respect and value her as a person. He likes working with her and is grateful for the help he gives him with civil rights projects.


The now familiar symbol of hair appears in this short chapter. When Tommy first meets Lynne and has some sexual fantasies about her, he thinks about "hanging her from a tree by her long hair." This is part of his vision of white women, which also includes his belief "she would assume she was in control" during sex. He fantasizes that he would "force him to have him in ways that would disgust and thrill her." He notices that as she becomes active in the movement she wears her hair "in tight braids that she pinned securely to the top of her head." He believes she is trying to be more like an African American.

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