a colour well-known in Detroit: pink

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gvergara

Senior Member
Español
HI

I'd like to know what is the association between Detroit and pink. In Chile, pink is associated with homosexualism, usually in a humorous way. Does the author try to imply that there was a large homosexual population in 1930's Detroit?

"But unfortunately, it’s too late," said the short one. He took a slip from his pocket, a color well known in Detroit: pink.
From Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides


Thanks in advance,
Gonzalo (Please feel free to correct all my mistakes ;))
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Pink is the traditional color for an official notice from your employer that you no longer have a job. The note itself is referred to as a pink slip.

    (Pink slips may no longer actually be pink these days.)

    Detroit is famous for the loss of jobs it has suffered recently, as the factories that used to employ so many people have moved elsewhere, or closed down.
     

    gvergara

    Senior Member
    Español
    Thanks, your answers make a lot of sense. But what about this other bit?

    Detroit was always made of wheels. Long before the Big Three and the nickname "Motor City"; before the auto factories and the freighters and the pink, chemical nights.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In the first one, the man is pulling a slip from his pocket ~ a pink slip. The author is telling us that the man lost his job. If the author wanted to say something else, he would have said it differently.

    In the second, I believe, the color pink is created at night by all the pollution in the air, and the artificial lights of the factories and the cities. It seems to me that the contrast is between pink, a soft gentle color sometimes associated with health, and "chemical nights" which would not be a good thing.

    In the book overall, the author may be making some other association with pink, but it is not apparent to me in these quotations. I certainly wouldn't think they alluded to homosexuality.
     

    errefg

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    HI

    I'd like to know what is the association between Detroit and pink. In Chile, pink is associated with homosexualism, usually in a humorous way. Does the author try to imply that there was a large homosexual population in 1930's Detroit?

    "But unfortunately, it’s too late," said the short one. He took a slip from his pocket, a color well known in Detroit: pink.
    From Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginides


    Thanks in advance,
    Gonzalo (Please feel free to correct all my mistakes ;))
    I am reading this book right now. Towards the end, the author speaks of the "pink nights of Detroit". It seems that ever so often, the night sky in Detroit turns pink. From the book:

    "They happened every so often, depending on temperature and the level of chemicals in the air. When the particulate matter in the atmosphere was sufficient, light from the ground got trapped and reflected back, and the entire Detroit sky would become the soft pink of cotton candy. It never got dark on pink nights, but the light was nothing like daytime.... We had all grown on up with pink nights. They were not a natural phenomenon, but they were natural to us" -- Jeffrey Eugeneides "Middlesex" paperback, page 502.

    You can see a picture of a pink night here:
    http://atdetroit.net/forum/messages/76017/74713.html?1150838146

    -errefg

     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I think there are two separate references to "pink" in this book:

    The sky in Detroit (and other major US cities with hazy skies) is frequently either orangish, or purple-pink. The pink/purple sky light is the result of mercury-vapor street-lights. The orange sky light is from sodium-vapor street-lights. Both have been common in Detroit.

    The 1930s was the heart of the Great Depression. It hit very hard in Detroit (my parents went through the Depression in Detroit) and pink slips were common.

    I don't think that either reference to "pink" refers to homosexuality (in this book).
     

    ewhite

    Senior Member
    USA/English
    In any event, the coded color reference to homosexuality in AE would be lavender.
     
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