The symbols in this book all characterize the reason for Christine’s hate for Heed. For example, one of the symbols in the story is “White Shoulders” (84). Christine was almost in love during her affair with Doctor Rio when “…she’d been replaced by fresher White Shoulders”(84). The term White Shoulders literally meant the perfume Rio gave all of his mistresses to
wear, but to Christine, it represented the fact that she was not good enough, never good enough. Just like her grandfather,
Cosey, had chosen Heed over her, Rio had moved on and replaced her with another woman. And, even though this new
woman who had been chosen over her was not Heed, White Shoulders still stoked her hatred of Heed.
Another symbol that represented this was Morrison’s metaphor of the two turtles. When Christine almost hit a turtle crossing the road while swerving to avoid the turtle in front of it, her entire life since the age of twelve was represented right before her eyes. The first turtle represented Heed and how she was always chosen before Christine, it represented the women always chosen
before her. The second turtle symbolized Christine and how she was always the one left behind and forgotten. The first turtle was the child who was taken on the honeymoon; the second was the child “staring through the window of the
automobile,” the child that was wondering “Why can’t [I] go too?” (170).