Let the Great World Spin

Let the Great World Spin

A member of the support group for grieving mothers that Claire belongs to. She also lives in the same government housing project as Corrigan, Tillie, and Jazzlyn. Gloria grew up in the South, the daughter of modest working class parents. When she goes to Syracuse for college, she leaves her family and Southern life behind, eventually marrying, divorcing, and moving to New York City, where she marries once again and has three sons, all of whom die in the Vietnam War. When Gloria sees Jazzlyn’s daughters, Janice and Jaslyn, being taken by child services, she decides to adopt them. Gloria raises them and maintains a lifelong friendship with Claire.

Gloria Quotes in Let the Great World Spin

The Let the Great World Spin quotes below are all either spoken by Gloria or refer to Gloria. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Political Unrest Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Let the Great World Spin published in 2009.
Book Three, Chapter 11: All Hail and Hallelujah Quotes

My grandmother was a slave. Her mother too. My great-grandfather was a slave who ended up buying himself out from under Missouri. He carried a mind-whip with him just in case he forgot. I know a thing or two about what people want to buy, and how they think they can buy it. I know the marks that got left on women’s ankles. I know the kneeling-down scars you get in the field... I’ve listened to the southern men in their crisp white shirts and ties. I’ve seen the fists pumping in the air. I joined in the songs. I was on the buses where they lifted their little children to snarl in the window. I know the smell of CS gas and it’s not as sweet as some folks say.

If you start forgetting you’re already lost.

Related Characters: Gloria (speaker), Claire Soderberg
Page Number: 299
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Then again, I was thinking that I shouldn’t be acting this way, maybe I was getting it all wrong, maybe the truth is that she was just a lonely white woman living up on Park Avenue, lost her boy the exact same way as I lost three of mine, treated me well, didn’t ask for nothing, brought me in her house, kissed me on the cheek, made sure my teacup was full, and she just flat-out made a mistake by running her mouth off, one silly little statement I was allowing to ruin everything. I had liked her when she was fussing all over us, and she didn’t mean harm, maybe she was just nervous. People are good or half good or a quarter good, and it changes it all the time—but even on the best day nobody’s perfect.

Related Characters: Gloria (speaker), Claire Soderberg
Page Number: 301
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum Lorem ipsum dolor sit amLorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Gloria Character Timeline in Let the Great World Spin

The timeline below shows where the character Gloria appears in Let the Great World Spin. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One, Chapter 2: Miró, Miró, on the Wall
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
...of which were simple, ordinary homes. The last meeting took place at a woman named Gloria’s apartment in the government housing projects of the Bronx. Claire was horrified by the building... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Upon leaving Gloria’s apartment at the last meeting, the four white women walked to the subway while fearfully... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
...continues to nervously fuss over preparing the apartment. For a moment she thinks again about Gloria, wondering half-heartedly if she could perhaps hire her friend to do odd jobs so that... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
As the conversation lulls, Claire goes to put flowers (which Gloria brought) in water. She finds herself vaguely unsettled by the thought of the tightrope walker,... (full context)
Book Three, Chapter 11: All Hail and Hallelujah
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
Gloria opens her section by stating that she knew immediately that the two little girls she... (full context)
Political Unrest Theme Icon
When Gloria left Missouri to go to college in Syracuse, New York, her father painted her a... (full context)
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Gloria explains that now, as an adult, people tend to see her as “churchy” despite the... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Claire awkwardly holds out a plate of doughnuts to Gloria, who tells her that if she has another, she might “spill out into the street.”... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
...interrupts Claire, this time asking if anyone has the timetable for the Staten Island Ferry. Gloria notices Claire blushing and trying to smile, pretending like her feelings haven’t been hurt. Awkwardly,... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
As Gloria checks herself in the hallway mirror, Claire grabs her elbow, ushering her slightly away from... (full context)
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Although Gloria likes Claire—and although she could imagine staying after the others left—she decides not to stick... (full context)
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Out in the hall, Gloria is just about to step into the elevator when Claire once again pulls her by... (full context)
Political Unrest Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
In her narration, Gloria takes a moment to explain to readers that her great-grandmother and grandmother were both slaves,... (full context)
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Gloria steps into the elevator as Claire immediately regrets what she said. Downstairs, the doorman tells... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Doubt & Faith Theme Icon
As she walks, Gloria contemplates whether or not she acted rightly. She considers the possibility that she read too... (full context)
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Gloria continues narrating her life’s history, explaining that in college she was often invited to fancy... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
When she graduated, Gloria’s parents traveled to Syracuse. They were proud of her, and her mother talked about how... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
The next time Gloria saw her parents was at her first wedding, which was to a man who was... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Continuing her journey toward the Bronx from Claire’s apartment, Gloria’s feet begin to blister. She isn’t paying attention to her surroundings, so she doesn’t anticipate... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Gloria hails a cab and directs it—for reasons she can’t explain—to Claire’s apartment. When she arrives,... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
Once Claire helps Gloria get cleaned up, the two women sit in the living room drinking gin and tonics.... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Gloria asks if Claire can put on some music. Together they sit relaxed in the living... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Prejudice & Stereotypes Theme Icon
...out celebrating a triumphant court case at his favorite restaurant. He comes in and shakes Gloria’s hand, but it is obvious that he wishes she would leave. He too seems a... (full context)
Unity & Human Connection Theme Icon
Claire follows Solomon down the hall. He returns after a moment and apologizes to Gloria for being terse. He also says that he is sorry to hear about her three... (full context)
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
When Gloria leaves, Claire insists upon escorting her to the Bronx in a car service. When they... (full context)
Book Four, Chapter 12: Roaring Seaward, and I Go
Simultaneity & Time Theme Icon
...several days with Claire to “accompany her dying” in the same way that she accompanied Gloria in death six years previous—she and Janice drove Gloria to Missouri, where they buried her... (full context)