Let’s take a moment and hop to the dog fight, in which Skeetah adds China to the bloody brawl. Frightened and angry, Randall begins to yell at Skeetah, how could he fight her?!
“She’s a mother!,” Randall whispers vehemently, in some attempt to coach sanity into Skeetah (169).
And Randall is right; China has just given birth, her breasts heavy with milk, and to him, it is only foolish to fight the dog.
“And he’s a father,” Skeetah responds, motioning to the other dog; “And what difference does it make?” he says (169).
Skeethah’s response filled me with a strong sense of pride; He does not see China as weak for being female, nor does he see her as being any less capable after giving birth. Her gender is not something to detain her or shame her, and his response to Randall exposes this.
Thinking of mothers and fighting, I thought immediately of Beloved. Sethe, too was a mother, filled with an almost super-strength when fighting for her children. In a similar way, Medea was filled with intense power as a mother, murdering her own children in a rush of fury. While both of these examples tell more of a brutal narrative, they demonstrate the strength intertwined with being a mother, a strength that Skeetah is quick to recognize and all the more quick to affirm.