Break the pattern of binary world

“It was a good thing I was destined to become a missionary. For some time after this I put aside the problem of men and concentrated on reading the Bible. Eventually, I thought, I’ll fall in love like everybody else. Then some years later, quite by mistake, I did.” (pp. 77)

The destiny mentioned in these sentences reminds me of the description about the adoption of Jeanette. Her mother did not arbitrary choose Jeanette among the children in the orphanage but rather follows the star that guided her to Jeanette’s crib. By doing this, she successfully follows the God’s will to select the “right” child that can do God service. She does not sincerely care for the well being of Jeanette, as evidenced in her neglect when Jeanette is temporary deaf. In fact, her love for Jeanette is conditional: she expects that Jeanette would grow up to be an immaculate person that can serve God to bring about change in the world. Jeanette adopts her mother’s mindset from very young age and she does believe in the pathway that her mother draws for her future.

Jeanette used to think that she has never been in a relationship with a man because she is busy absorbing the grand idea the Bible, or because it is sinful to get involve in romance and she has to obey her mother’s admonition: “Don’t let anyone touch you Down There”. The fact that Jeanette remains single and committed to God is unsullied enough to please her mother. But later Jeanette recognizes that sooner or later she will find her romance. This is the hint of the coming out moment of Jeanette in the future. It is worth noticing how and why Jeanette can deviate from the anchored philosophy of her family– a binary world with either enemies or friends and no middle ground in between. The homosexuality of Jeanette exists in that middle ground of no name to her mother.

Jeanette listens to the voice inside that speaks her feeling instead of following the fixed pathway for her life. What makes Jeanette a heroine is her bravery to come out and declare her identity. Her standing up for herself and the truth, not the sacred mission such as those depicted in Bible, is the special story of Jeanette’s real life. She does grow up to be “special”, just not as in the sense that her mother can imagine. The difference between Jeanette and her mother can be compared with the difference in good and bad writing that Anzaldua mentioned in her writing: “Find the muse within you. The voice that lies buried under you, dig it up. Do not fake it, try to sell it for a handclap or your name in print”. Jeanette’s mother always focus on the appearance of the action instead of goodwill, in other words, she wants to be recognized rather than to contribute to the community. Jeanette, on the other hand, does not concern protecting the non-mundane personal image. She does what feels real to her, and by doing that creates a unique story of her own just as any human can.


2 thoughts on “Break the pattern of binary world”

  1. I like the way you think about this and love that you the book in conversation with Gloria Anzaluda. I definitely agree with the fact that part of what makes Jeanette so amazing is the fact that she continues to stick up for herself and defend her sexuality. Maybe Jeanette did not become the only thing her mother wanted her to be, but to her that does not matter because she has her muse-what makes her happy is loving other women. It takes so much courage to stand up for herself in the community that she lives in, but I think this comes into conversation with Adrienne Rich’s poem about the Fox. Both these women are unique in that they love that they love other women. They crave to be around other women like themselves because they know how fucked up the struggle is to be a lesbian women in the worlds that they live in. They want to feel validated for all the things they have survived, but they also want to validate other women who have survived the same struggle of being a Fox.

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