For brevity's sake, I'll just hone in on two additional motifs that stood out to me: spirits, and the color blue. For starters, Lou is the granddaughter of a Yamasee medicine man, the spiritual leader of their village. As an enslaved woman, she's haunted by the disgruntled spirit of the son she mercy-killed for the rest of her life, developing a cancer that swells her stomach and requires her to symbolically give birth to it on her death bed, with an "ocean" surging out from inside her as she dies. Suce regularly talks to spirits and/or herself, is similarly haunted by one of her dead children who resents dying so young, and is able to sense when something's wrong with any one of her 12 living children. And as previously alluded to, Lillie's spirit possesses her daughter Lovey's body in order to enact succubus-style revenge against her brother (Lovey's uncle). Apparently, the spirits in the Black Lessing family are rarely at rest. And the color of that restlessness is blue. Blue is the color of the eagle-shaped granite charm that Lou's grandfather gives her as a child and that gets passed down to her female descendants, and it's also the color of the water she expels upon her death. Blue is the color of the eyeshadow Lillie often wears to offset her red outfits, and the color of the moonlight that her spirit is bathed in when Lovey encounters her. Blue is the color that Dumpling avoids for the rest of her life after being traumatized in her preteen years, to the point of never wearing the color again and refusing to dress her dolls or her children in it. And blue is the color of the beaded necklace that six-year-old Sherry is wearing when Dumpling slaps her. There's also something to be said about the recurrence of the number 12—the age Suce is when she meets Willie, the number of years Suce is cursed by another enslaved woman to not have children after marrying Willie, the number of Suce's children who survive into adulthood, the age that Lovey and Dumpling are when their respective innocence is compromised, etc.—but I figure I've expounded enough for one day.
"That was the first time, on the Lord's Day, when someone who wasn't blood-related to Dominick had told him they loved him.And now, as he tried futilely to fall asleep alone in his teenage bedroom, he wondered if anyone else ever would" (17)."The tactics were simple: scare the new white people in any way possible. If they wanted to be in Detroit, they would have to accept it all" (134)."'I'm still all here,' she said, pointing a red fingernail to the right side of her temple. 'Some folks don't even know they're here'" (230).