“If you get stung, don’t come whining to me,” she said, “cause I ain’t gonna care.”
Rosaleen warns Lily how she will react if Lily gets stung by the bees she keeps in a jar. Lily states that Rosaleen is lying, as she knows that deep down Rosaleen loves her. Rosaleen has a sharp manner, which makes for an interesting dynamic with Lily. Readers note that despite behaving in a gruff way, Rosaleen genuinely loves Lily.
“There is worse things in the house than chicken shit,” she said and looked him up one side and down the other. “You ain’t touching that chick.”
Lily recalls a memory in which Rosaleen stands up to T. Ray. Rosaleen let Lily take home a chick from the mercantile. However, after the chick leaves droppings on the carpet, T. Ray becomes angry and says the chick has to go. Through this remembered exchange, readers can see how Rosaleen acted as a brave mediator between Lily and her father, demonstrating her love for and loyalty to Lily.
Her name, Rosaleen Daise, was written twenty-five times at least down the page in large, careful cursive, like the first paper you turn in when school starts.
Lily describes a paper Rosaleen used to practice writing her name. The Civil Rights Act has just passed, and Rosaleen has been practicing writing her name so she can register to vote. As Mr. Bussey tells T. Ray, Southern whites manning the polls won’t allow blacks who can’t write their name to register. Proud and determined, Rosaleen practices until she can correctly write her name.
“Stole it from a church,” she said. Just like that.
Rosaleen tells the white racist men confronting her that she stole the fan she’s carrying. Lily feels amazed that Rosaleen admits that she stole the fan, especially to these men, and Lily thinks such an admission is reckless on Rosaleen’s part. Rosaleen, however, seems unfazed. She speaks her mind, even when doing so will get her in trouble.
Well, you sure had one back at the hospital, coming in there saying we’re gonna do this and we’re gonna do that, and I’m supposed to follow you like a pet dog. You act like you’re my keeper. Like I’m some dumb nigger you gonna save.
After Rosaleen and Lily escape and things start to look hopeless on the road, they have a moment of confrontation. Rosaleen went along with Lily but not without some misgivings. Rosaleen doesn’t want to be led “like a dog” by Lily. The racial tension inherent in Rosaleen and Lily’s relationship seems clear, but Rosaleen’s love for Lily outweighs such difficulties.