Noon is a mother to all of her loved ones, her arms are open wide with care and nurture, and the only thing she needs now, is to care for herself. Noon is the strongest woman to present herself inside of this novel. She juggles with dozens of problems at once, including: Herbie’s needs for pleasure, the fight for her church, and two stray children wanting her love and care. Ethel, the mother of Liz, is the complete opposite of Noon. Her licentious ways, causing her to leave behind her niece, aggravates Noon to the fullest.
Noon’s constant disapproval of Ethel shows the reader just how strong her morals are. This also showed Ethel how strong her morals were, so strong, that Ethel would trust her niece’s life with her. Herbie wasn’t at all a fatherly figure as Noon was a mother. Noon’s strong values made Herbie seem like he was still in high school. He wasn’t much of a good husband either. He would take advantage of Noon’s kindness and discernment. The barber Bow gives wise words of advice to Herbie saying, “Boy, you got a good wife, stop trying to live the fast life, chasing women and hanging in those clubs. Herbie mainly likes to chase one woman, and that’s Ethel. The main reason he does this, is because she can do something that Noon can’t do; make love. When Noon was 12 year’s old, an event took place in her life that would fill her future with tremor; she was gang raped. This explains why Noon is so easy to take advantage of, this explains why Noon is such a protecting mother, and this explains why Noon can’t make pleasure to her husband. Once again we can make a connection between Noon’s past, and her antagonist, Ethel’s past.
Ethel is stricken with the need to pleasure other men when her mother took a man’s life, and Noon is stricken with the need to run away from pleasure when men took her virginity. When I thought of the word “Mother”, I always thought of a woman making food and feeding her kids. Noon has successfully changed the images that flash through my mind. Today, when I think of the word mother, I see Noon showering Fannie and Liz with love, I see Noon forgiving Herbie for all of his mistakes, I see Noon being someone a typical mother could only dream to be.