As I was reading the end of Home, I came across the quote that I knew I would pick as the one that meant the most to me from the novel. The quote struck me because it not only has a lot of significance to the book, but also to the overall topics that we are discussing in class. The quote I chose was a popular one; several other people also chose it (or at least a part of it) and I think that goes to show just how significant it is.
The quote is from chapter 13, where Cee reveals to Frank that she is devastated that she can no longer have children because of what the doctor did to her. Cee begins to sob, and Frank’s reaction is to tell Cee to not cry (Morrison, 131). Cee’s reply is the quote that I chose. She tells Frank, “Why not? I can be miserable if I want to. You don’t need to try and make it go away. It shouldn’t go away. It’s just as sad as it ought to be and I’m not going to hide from what’s true just because it hurts” (Morrison, 131).
There are several reasons why I found this quote in particular to be so meaningful. First, I think that Frank’s reaction to Cee’s crying is very common. Watching people cry can be extremely uncomfortable for a lot of people, so it is no wonder that Frank’s first reaction is to tell Cee to stop crying. However, it is worth asking why crying makes people so uncomfortable. I think that a major reason is because we are conditioned to believe that crying is a sign of weakness. After all, the expression “to cry like a baby” implies that crying is a trait belonging to infants, the most helpless of human beings. So when Cee tells Frank that she is allowed to cry, that there is no reason to deny her pain, she is standing up to the societal beliefs that it is better to try and push your pain away rather than feel it. I found it very empowering that Cee let herself cry in front of her brother despite how socially unacceptable it is to cry.
I think that Cee’s defiant stance that she needs to let herself cry brings to light an important point about what it takes to heal. First, it is important to acknowledge what exactly I mean by the term “heal.” Healing is normally associated with the process of fixing a physical aliment. However, the healing I am talking about here has less to do with physical wounds and more to do with emotional pain. Like we discussed in class, Cee’s womb can never be fully healed; the abuse that she experienced at the hands of the doctor cannot be undone. However, just because she cannot be healed physically does not mean that she cannot try to heal emotionally. That being said, in many ways healing emotionally can be more difficult than healing physically. Although it took Cee months to recover from her injuries, she will have to deal with what she experienced for the rest of her life. Thus, the process of healing emotionally will most likely take a very long time for her.
When someone has experienced something traumatic like Cee has, it can be appealing to push away and dissociate from it. We saw this firsthand in Home when Frank tried to convince the audience (and possibly himself) that a guard was the one responsible for the young Korean girl’s death (Morrison, 95). However, this will only cause more issues later on. In Frank’s case, he has trouble even being around young girls because he never dealt with what he did (Morrison, 76-77). This is why it is so meaningful that Cee does not try to push away her feelings like Frank suggests. Instead, she lets herself cry, lets herself feel the pain that she cannot have children. This is such an important step in her healing process. After all, how can she come to peace with what happened to her if she never actually takes the time to acknowledge how much and why it hurts? To heal emotionally, Cee is facing head on the reality of what happened to her. Although it is upsetting her now, as she begins to recover from what happened to her, she will eventually be able to accept her situation and find peace within herself. Overall, the quote that I chose highlights how healing emotionally is just as important as healing physically; it suggests that you can never fully be healed unless you let yourself feel the pain from what you experienced.