"I begin to feel those little bits of color floating up into me—deep in me. That streak of green from the june-bug light, the purple from the berries trickling along my thighs. Mama's lemonade yellow runs sweet in me. Then I feel like I'm laughing between my legs, and the laughing gets all mixed up with the colors, and I'm afraid I'll come, and afraid I won't. But I know I will. And I do. And it be rainbow all inside."
This is the way Polly Breedlove in The Bluest Eye remembers the experience of orgasm—remembers it, because in the grim and shabby reality of her present, orgasm (which we might take as a metaphor for any deeply pleasurable experience) is no longer possible. Living in a storefront, her husband fluctuating between brutality and apathy, her son estranged, her daughter just plain scared, Polly has no language to describe the memory of a past pleasure, except one drawn from her distant childhood.
The power of this passage is not just related to the fact that it evokes the most intense female experience possible. Much of the impact is produced by the way it describes. Morrison defamiliarizes the portrayal of sensual experience. Adjectives become substantives, giving taste to color____________________