“Now he knew why he loved her so. Without ever leaving the ground she could fly. “There must be another one like you,” he whispered to her. “There’s got to be at least one more woman like you.” (336)
Hagar is Pilate’s foil. The two are different in almost every way that matters to Milkman. Pilate is obviously the stronger of the two. As Milkman realizes at the end of the novel, Pilate is what every woman should be. Hagar on the other hand, is weak, lost, and maybe even delusional. The strongest contrast between grandmother and grandchild is their dependency to men. Pilate crawled out of her mother’s womb and not once throughout her life did she surrender herself to the wishes of any man- not even those of her beloved brother. But Hagar is desperate for Milkman’s attention; she is even willing to kill for him. Hagar tries to find happiness and love in material things. Pilate has ignored these things from an early age. The two have a very different view on the meaning of beauty. Hagar likes the “opulence” and “luxe” they sell at department stores. Unlike Hagar, Pilate is oblivious to these things. Morrison is partial to Pilate’s tree-like shape and lips that are darker than the color of her skin. All of these factors determine each character’s ability to fly.
Throughout the novel Pilate is represented as unstoppable and free. Morrison always makes sure to mention Pilate’s ever-moving lips. Hagar is the opposite. She is always within herself and in some instances even catatonic. Hagar can’t fly because her emotional troubles weight her down. Pilate’s emotional buildup and carefree view of life make her as light as a feather