In class today, we were talking a bit about how abrupt the ending was, and how Precious hadn’t figured or planned things out for the children very much. The story kind of leaves us hanging between the naturalistic ending of The Street, and the happier ending of The Color Purple. As such I think it kind of throws off some of the critique that we’ve encountered about both story endings. Some people find The Street “too” harsh, and some people find The Color Purple’s ending “too” happy.
I find that to a degree, there is an uplifting ending in Precious. A lot of hope comes from developing the mind, and separating the mind from the body. When Precious’ father is raping her, she has to go to a special place in her mind to deny the reality of rape happening to her. The mind becomes a place of escape, a place of survival.
A similar dichotomy between mind and body happens when Precious is at the Survivors of Incest Anonymous meeting, and she sees that not only “ugly” girls are the ones to get raped, she gets the sensation of flying: “I see flying. Feel flying. Am flying. Far up, but my body down in circle. Precious is bird” (129). It is a moment in which her body no longer haunts her as a sign of her lack of worth. Instead, she can relate to someone else purely on the basis on their internal experiences. That recognition allows her inner self feel free – no longer trapped by her body. It exists, and not alone. It is a good moment.
Even though we know what must happen to Precious, she seizes every day and tries harder than ever to be educated and to give a voice to her and her friends. There is power in the mind – there is hope in it and a new kind of peace that allows her to even feel better about her body.