Literature Study GuidesMeridianPart 2 Section 23 Summary

Meridian | Study Guide

Alice Walker

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Meridian | Part 2, Section 23 : Truman Held (On Giving Him Back to His Own) | Summary



As this chapter opens, Lynne is on the subway. She is going to Truman's apartment to inform him that Camara has been beaten up and is in the hospital. It is six years after Lynne arrived in New York City, pregnant, and Truman lives there now, too. But he is in a much nicer apartment than Lynne's where he paints and sculpts "the century's definitive African-American masterpieces."

It takes quite a while for Truman to come to the door after she rings the bell "long and insistently." A woman behind him asks, "Who is it, True?" Lynne assumes Meridian is there, but instead she finds a "tiny blonde girl in a tiny, tiny slip." Although Lynne had planned to make this visit as civil as possible, she disintegrates into sarcasm and wild laughter.


Several things about Lynne are revealed in this chapter. The first is her obsession with her body. Once a lithe, dancer's body, it is now beginning to bulge. She is aware that Truman liked her the way she used to be, but she notices as she exits the subway that men still admire her dancer's legs. As she stands waiting for Truman to answer the door to his apartment she remembers how Truman began to admire and paint the African American women's bodies that he once called "so fat." At the time he complimented Lynne on her supple figure, "like a straw in the wind ... her long hair a song of lightness." She remembers how, gradually, he stopped saying those things to her. He started painting black women with "heaving, pulsating, fecund bod[ies]." When she sees that he is now with a tiny blonde girl, she is enraged.

The second notable thing is that Lynne is speaking throughout this chapter in what might be described as the black vernacular. She seems to be identifying herself more as an African American woman than as a white woman. This is especially evident since her body is beginning to resemble those Truman paints.

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