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Son arrives in New York in advance of Jadine and feels
bewildered by the fast pace of city life. The city is crowded and
dehumanizing. He feels alienated from the black people he encounters
and is eager for Jadine to arrive, although he begins to worry she
will not come. In his mind he reviews the days after Christmas,
and he feels nervous about whether he managed to make Jadine fall
in love with him during that time. He is still conflicted about
her, thinking spitefully of the first time he met her and her dismissive,
white attitude, but also of the fragile nature underneath that needs
to be protected.
While Son worries, Jadine arrives and takes a taxi from
the airport into New York. She is delighted to be back in the city
and feels like she is reentering a lover’s arms. She is determined
to make New York belong to her, and she imagines how great it will
be to explore it with Son.
Son wants to go to Eloe, though. Jadine and Son move into Dawn’s
vacant apartment in New York and spend all their time together.
Jadine is glad Son is so handsome, and she loves introducing him
to her friends. Son and Jadine have a variety of exploits in the
city, where they eat junk food, drink lots of alcohol, read tabloid stories,
and play board games and cards. Son tells Jadine more about his
marriage to Cheyenne and how he killed her accidentally. Jadine
tells him more about her life as a model and how she left the United
States for Europe because she felt the States offered her limited
life choices. Jadine feels a little guilty about leaving Ondine
and Sydney without saying goodbye but does not feel guilty about
leaving the Streets.
Son does a series of odd jobs, and Jadine thinks about
starting to model again or about working for an art history professor
she had when she was a student. But neither Son nor Jadine really
seems to care about money, and they do not have any savings. As
they spend more and more time together, Jadine starts to feel like
less of an orphan, and she and Son feel like they are the only two
left in love in New York City. They stop leaving the apartment or
seeing other people and only spend time with each other. Spring
begins to arrive. Finally they leave for Eloe.
Despite Son’s positive reaction to New York, he prefers
a less civilized environment. When he turns on the tap in the hotel
bathtub, he smiles because he is pleased to see how water has been
transformed by civilization. Yet his smile masks the fundamental
conflict between nature and conflict, which is that nature needs
to be protected by humans. Whereas New York is a land of endless
opportunity and excitement to Jadine, the city will never satisfy
Son, a spirit as wild and resistant to domesticity. The fruits of
civilization are not fruits to him at all. He does not want to be
taught to fit into the system of civilization that he despises.
Jadine is the only reason Son moves to New York, and he would not
consider moving there if he did not have a strong desire to be with
her. He does not stop to think of how he fits in the more civilized
environment because his thoughts are only with Jadine. Therefore,
Jadine’s and Son’s infatuations with one another interfere with
their different upbringings in the civilized and natural worlds.
They are too distracted by each other to take notice of what is
happening around them. Although Jadine and Son can retreat into
a fantasy world of their own making for a time, ultimately the conflict
between nature and civilization, which is the conflict between blackness
and whiteness, will cause problems in their relationship.
Time moves much faster in New York City now that Jadine
and Son are away from Isle de Chevaliers. The big city is very sophisticated
compared to life on the island, and therefore much more happens
at a faster pace and the days fly by before Jadine and Son realize it.
In New York, they are surrounded by constant action. Part of the reason
they are making themselves so busy may be because they want to avoid
thinking and talking about what happened on the island. However,
the difference of opinion they had on the island cannot easily be
forgotten because their points of view embody who they are. While
Son and Jadine attempt to ignore their differences, they cannot
ignore them by escaping to New York. And although the fight between
the Streets and Sydney and Ondine did not directly involve them,
Jadine also feels bad for leaving Sydney and Ondine, as well as
selfish for not staying behind to help them. Since times goes by
more quickly in New York, Jadine stops feeling guilty about leaving
Sydney and Ondine behind. With so much happening in New York, she
only thinks about her new life with Son.