The adjective "irrevocable" gives "outdoors" a negative meaning that emphasizes "the real terror of life" that comes with not having the money, opportunities, or willpower to make and keep a home for oneself indoors.
Outdoors was the end of something, an
irrevocable, physical fact, defining and complementing our metaphysical condition.
"Unsullied" is an odd adjective to describe hatred. But the narrator is describing her nine-year-old self's reaction to Shirley Temple's dancing with a man who should've been dancing with her. Because Claudia was so young and didn't know Shirley Temple, and because Shirley Temple was the embodiment of clean and fresh whom everyone is supposed to love, the hatred is an emotion unsullied by others and would not lead to the sullying of others.
unmistakably (`plain' is often used informally for `plainly')
"It" refers to a big, blue-eyed baby doll that Claudia was given by adults. But Claudia would rather dismember the "patently aggressive sleeping companion" than snuggle with it. This feeling is similar to her desire to slam locker doors on the hand of Maureen Peal, who wore patent-leather shoes and other quality clothes (here, "patent" refers to a leather-making process that the inventor had sole rights to).
It was a most uncomfortable,
patently aggressive sleeping companion.
Break off the tiny fingers, bend the flat feet, loosen the hair, twist the head around, and the thing made one sound—a sound they said was the sweet and
plaintive cry “Mama,” but which sounded to me like the bleat of a dying lamb, or, more precisely, our icebox door opening on rusty hinges in July.
The truly horrifying thing was the transference of the same impulses to little white girls. The indifference with which I could have axed them was shaken only by my desire to do so. To discover what
eluded me: the secret of the magic they weaved on others.
Misery colored by the greens and blues in my mother’s voice took all of the grief out of the words and left me with a conviction that pain was not only
endurable, it was sweet. But without song, those Saturdays sat on my head like a coal scuttle, and if Mama was fussing, as she was now, it was like somebody throwing stones at it.
There is an abandoned store on the southeast corner of Broadway and Thirty-fifth Street in Lorain, Ohio. It does not recede into its background of leaden sky, nor harmonize with the gray frame houses and black telephone poles around it. Rather, it
foists itself on the eye of the passerby in a manner that is both irritating and melancholy.
Other definitions of "fester" are "decay or rot," "infect, inflame or corrupt," and "be a source of irritation"--all of these could fit the example sentence to describe the physical and emotional effects of poverty on the Breedlove family.
So fluid has the population in that area been, that probably no one remembers longer, longer ago, before the time of the gypsies and the time of the teenagers when the Breedloves lived there, nestled together in the storefront.
Festering together in the debris of a realtor’s whim.
physical discomfort (as mild sickness or depression)
Like a sore tooth that is not content to throb in isolation, but must diffuse its own pain to other parts of the body—making breathing difficult, vision limited, nerves unsettled, so a hated piece of furniture produces a fretful
malaise that asserts itself throughout the house and limits the delight of things not related to it.
Except for the father, Cholly, whose ugliness (the result of despair,
dissipation, and violence directed toward petty things and weak people) was behavior, the rest of the family—Mrs. Breedlove, Sammy Breedlove, and Pecola Breedlove—wore their ugliness, put it on, so to speak, although it did not belong to them.
Another definition of "insolent" is "marked by casual disrespect"--while that could describe Sammy and Cholly's attitude, it would not fit Mrs. Breedlove (who enjoys being a martyr) or Pecola (who is too shy and passive to be disrespectful). Additionally, "insolent" is used here to describe nostrils, which like the rest of the Breedloves' appearance, could be seen as irregular or unconventional.
The low, irregular hairlines, which seemed even more irregular in contrast to the straight, heavy eyebrows which nearly met. Keen but crooked noses, with
insolent nostrils. They had high cheekbones, and their ears turned forward.
They did not belong to those generations of prostitutes created in novels, with great and generous hearts, dedicated, because of the horror of circumstance, to
ameliorating the luckless, barren life of men, taking money incidentally and humbly for their “understanding.”