Solid, rumbling, likely to erupt without prior notice Macon kept each member of his family awkward with fear. His hatred of his wife glittered and sparked in every word he spoke to her.
The narrator makes clear that Milkman’s father, Macon, seems larger than life. He feels disappointed in his daughters and despises his wife, who is a terrible cook. Macon owns a real estate business and lives as a successful Black man, an anomaly in his community. However, his success and his emotional turmoil take a toll on everyone around him, especially his family.
In 1936, there were very few among them who lived as well as Macon Dead. Others watched the family gliding by with a tiny bit of jealousy and a whole lot of amusement, for Macon’s wide green Packard belied what they thought a car was for.
The narrator provides details about the family car to illustrate the contrast between Macon’s social status and values with those of his community. He cares about appearances, not about functionality. Macon possesses the resources to drive and take care of a fancy car. Readers note that even though the children don’t enjoy the Sunday drives like Macon does, they have to endure these weekly drives nonetheless. Macon clearly needs to ensure that all note what he’s accomplished.
“You touch her one more time, and I’ll kill you!” Macon was so shocked at being assaulted he could not speak.
Milkman threatens Macon after Macon prepares to strike Ruth. The scene begins at the dinner table, when Ruth tells what happened at the Catholic Church when she tried to take communion. When she remarks that she is indeed her daddy’s daughter, Macon motions to hit her, as he has done before. This time Milkman knocks him down, stunning Macon into silence. Once he regains his ability to speak, however, Macon tells Milkman about Ruth’s incestuous relationship with her father, a fact that Macon holds against Ruth through the years.
He turned to his son full face and licked his lips. “Macon, get it and you can have half of it; go wherever you want. Get it. For both of us. Please get it, son. Get the gold.”
Macon tells Milkman the reason he hates his sister, Pilate. He tells what happened after their father was killed. He explains that he and Pilate hid with a neighbor and then took off for the hills. One night, they hid in a cave in which a white man was sleeping. Fearing for his life, Macon killed the man, and they discovered bags of gold in the cave. At first, Pilate says that they must not take the gold, but later she escapes her brother and takes the treasure for herself. When Macon hears about the heavy green bag hanging in his sister’s home, he assumes that the bag contains this gold. Here, he pleads with Milkman to reclaim the gold.