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MonkeyNotes-Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
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After the foray into Jadine's mind, one is told about Valerian and Margaret, their backgrounds as well as their fears and desires. Valerian is revealed here as a man who followed in his family's footsteps and inherited the candy factory in Philadelphia that he ran for most of his life. All he looked forward to doing was retiring and he finally got his wish at sixty-eight. He then bought an island in the Caribbean where he would retire and die. Valerian is an escapist. He wants to live in a world of his own creation, therefore he has bought the island and indulges in his pastimes, impervious to the world around him. As long as he does no harm, he thinks he is a good man. He is a querulous and paternal old man who patronizes his wife and his servants. His wife Margaret faces the problem of forgetfulness. She is presented as a beautiful white woman who did not have much to do after marriage and so she had a child when she was very young. She invests her whole being in her beauty, which her husband married her for and does not know anything else. People around her think that she does not make a good mother but Margaret is convinced that she does love her son truly. The conflicts and insecurities that Toni Morrison mentions in connection with Margaret help the reader later to understand why this woman had tortured her son.


In contrast to Margaret, Valerian and Jadine, Sydney and Ondine get better sleep. They too dream but can turn to each other for security. They do not have the neuroses that their employers do. Morrison has contrasted the husband /wife relation of Margaret and Valerian with that of Sydney and Ondine. While the former do not sleep together, the latter do. At the end of the chapter, it is night and everyone finally falls sleeps. Toni Morrison ends the chapter on a mysterious note. It is mentioned that when they sleep, they hear no footsteps in the dark. It is later learned that the occupants in the villa had not heard Son prowling around the house at night. He is the refugee who reaches L'Arbe de la Croix and sneaks into the house for food.

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MonkeyNotes-Tar Baby by Toni Morrison
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