The Taste of Watermelon

by

Borden Deal

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Freddy Gray Character Analysis

Freddy Gray is one of the narrator’s new friends in the neighborhood. Along with J.D., the three teenage boys form a “bunch.” Their relationships to each other are still childish: they are “still young enough” that they need the bunch to feel secure, rather than acting independently as adults, and they are not able to communicate about the dynamics “under the surface” of their relationship. One of these dynamics is that the narrator is new to their rural community, having moved from town, so the two boys don’t totally trust him yet. Before the narrator steals the watermelon, Freddy Gray seems to be the unofficial leader of the group. He speaks with more authority than the others, and he is the first one to jump in the water when they go swimming. He is also the one to challenge the narrator to steal the watermelon. Afterwards, though, the narrator assumes leadership of the group, as he digs into the watermelon first and then graciously offers that the two others “help themselves” to his stolen prize. In this way, the narrator wins himself more belonging in the group by stealing the watermelon, although that belonging comes with the steep price of shared guilt for their actions.

Freddy Gray Quotes in The Taste of Watermelon

The The Taste of Watermelon quotes below are all either spoken by Freddy Gray or refer to Freddy Gray. 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:
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
).
The Taste of Watermelon Quotes

We gorged ourselves until we were heavy... We gazed with sated eyes at the leftover melon, still good meat peopled with a multitude of black seeds...

“There’s nothing we can do,” J.D. said. “I can just see us taking a piece of this melon home for the folks...”

We were depressed suddenly, it was such a waste, after all the struggle and the danger, that we could not eat every bite. I stood up, not looking at the two boys, not looking at the melon.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Freddy Gray, J.D.
Related Symbols: Watermelon
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Taste of Watermelon PDF

Freddy Gray Character Timeline in The Taste of Watermelon

The timeline below shows where the character Freddy Gray appears in The Taste of Watermelon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Taste of Watermelon
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Illicit Sexuality and Acceptable Romance Theme Icon
...recently moved from town to a farming community. He has friends in the new place (Freddy Gray and J.D.), but he still feels like an outsider. This trio of boys are... (full context)
Rushing to Judgment Theme Icon
Illicit Sexuality and Acceptable Romance Theme Icon
...the patch. All the boys in the area daydream about stealing it, including the narrator, Freddy Gray, and J.D. But they don’t actually plan on doing it, not only because they... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Illicit Sexuality and Acceptable Romance Theme Icon
...as daylight but softer. The night makes the narrator feel like he could do anything. Freddy Gray says he would like to take Willadean out, and the others laugh at him... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
...a newspaper. Then they reach the swimming hole and race to jump in the water. Freddy Gray jumps first. The water is cold, and it “strikes a chill” into them, but... (full context)
Rushing to Judgment Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Freddy Gray says no one would dare steal Mr. Wills’s watermelon on a bright night like... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Rushing to Judgment Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Illicit Sexuality and Acceptable Romance Theme Icon
...buckshot in Mr. Wills’s gun bothers the narrator: who would kill someone over a watermelon? Freddy Gray wonders why the narrator is so angry, asking him half-jokingly if he was planning... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
Illicit Sexuality and Acceptable Romance Theme Icon
...has to go home, and he begins to stomp on the leftover melon, destroying it. Freddy and J.D. watch him until he throws a chunk of melon at them, and then... (full context)