Truman Held: Conflicts Between Lynne and Meridian
How do you balance your desires as a man? As a Black man? How about balancing them as a black man in the Civil Rights Movement when you can’t decide between your reverence for Black women and your hunger for their Caucasian counterparts? Truman Held, Meridian’s college sweetheart, is divided in his feelings about his relationships with both Meridian and Lynne. Even though he is in love with Meridian, he eventually married and later produced a child with Lynne. Because he feels displaced and isolated among other black people, he found an interest in Lynne. But it’s the need for acceptance that keeps him returning to Meridian. Further research uncovered the fact that Alice Walker (the author) was married to a white Jewish civil rights worker in the 1960s (Hollenberg, 82), thus inverting her own experience to create the love triangle between Truman, Meridian, and Lynne.
Truman’s feelings toward Lynne slowly dissipate as the novel progresses; however, his affection for Meridian stays consistent. Due to his feelings of isolation and detachment from other black people, Truman sees the power of the white world in Lynne, thus fueling his attraction to her, in addition to the obvious reasons. Lynne represents everything Truman as a Black American male, should never aspire to obtain. At first, Truman and Lynne started out in Mississippi working for the Civil Rights Movement. Lynne’s whiteness proves to be more of a liability than an asset after a mutual friend, Tommy Odds, has half of one of his arms shot off. At this point, Truman starts to distance himself from his wife, whose only crime has been being a white woman enamored with “black folk.” In the midst of his newfound “independence,” he drives to Alabama to visit Meridian and try to win her back. But why? Didn’t Truman have everything he needed with Lynne and their daughter?
Truman’s relationship with Lynne began after he had already begun a...