head stocking


Senior Member

I'm trying to understand what head stocking means in the following passage (in Zadie Smith's novel On Beauty):

"Six steps from the ground floor Howard was surprised by Levi. Once again, this head-stocking business. Looking up at him from beneath it, that striking, leonine face with its manly chin, upon which hair had been growing for two years and yet had not confidently established itself."

I appreciate all your help!
  • MilkyBarKid

    Senior Member
    British English
    The character of Howard is a parody of the intellectual bourgeoisie; a man who does not understand beauty and it’s effects on the human condition.

    In the book (earlier than your quote), Howard confronts Levi about his “head -stocking business” because Howard assumes that the head-stocking is worn purely for aesthetic reasons, something to do with fashion and beauty. Howard doesn’t understand that Levi simply associates this specific look with his notions of being black: this is how black men dress!

    see http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/232814366/Stocking_Cap.html
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >