Analysis Of Jeanette 's Life Is The Marriage Of Her Parents

880 WordsJan 11, 20164 Pages
One of the most important reference points for relationships in Jeanette’s life is the marriage of her parents, which she describes at the very beginning of the novel: “my father liked to watch the wrestling, my mother liked to wrestle” (5). Their ”battle for power and domination” is fought on a purely social level; there is no love or intimacy between them. They are not a prime example of a conventional distribution of gender roles either. Stevens (2011) explains that in our culture, relationships serve to form identities “of wife, husband, mother and father”. Jeanette 's father does not seem to have any role in the family, except to work and earn money. He is rarely present throughout the novel. It is Jeanette’s mother who is the 'paterfamilias ' and mother figure to Jeanette at the same time. There is an amount of irony and hypocrisy to this situation, as Christian values – “[w]ives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife […]” (the New Testament) – are very important to her. Jeanette 's mother and the church advertise the patriarchal law of the bible, yet many important positions in the church are performed by women. Jeanette is even allowed to preach, until her affair with Katy comes to light and the pastor claims her high position in the church was the cause for her 'unnatural desires ': “The real problem, it seemed, was going against the teaching of St Paul, and allowing woman power in the church. […][H]aving taken on a man
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