2. It wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t my fault. But nothing could change the fact that where she saw beautiful flowers I saw sorrow and bitterness.
This remark occurs in “Mariah” after Mariah leads Lucy to a field of daffodils in hopes of changing Lucy’s hostility toward the flowers, and it encapsulates the vast differences in perception caused by Lucy and Mariah’s disparate backgrounds. While privileged Mariah can appreciate daffodils for their aesthetic qualities, Lucy, whose British-run school forced her to memorize a poem about this species of flower, which is alien to her island, can’t divorce daffodils from the injustices of colonialism, a system responsible for imposing foreign principles and interests on Lucy’s native land. Though Lucy has resented Mariah’s sheltered perspective of the world, she realizes that Mariah bears no more blame for loving daffodils than Lucy does for hating them, suggesting that perception derives not from choice but from circumstances beyond individual will. Yet by absolving herself and Mariah from holding their divisive views, Lucy also recognizes that she and Mariah can do nothing to bridge the perceptual gap between them, since they can’t change what they can’t control. This quote, by showing Lucy’s ability for forgiveness and insight, demonstrates Lucy’s conciliatory impulses while exposing just how much her colonial upbringing distances her from the white, affluent people in her midst.