“There were a lot of women, and most of them got married. If they couldn’t marry each other, and I didn’t think they could, because of having babies, some of them would inevitably have to marry beasts.”
This is not the first time Jeanette worries about her perceived impending marriage to a man. Having the foreknowledge that this is a coming out narrative, and that Jeanette will not be marrying a man, it creates a very recognizable instance of dramatic irony for the reader. She only gives the idea of women marrying women a brief thought, “…if they couldn’t marry each other, and i didn’t think they could, because of having babies…”. This bit of ‘logic’ illuminates the way her mother and the church have curbed her thinking; first, she assumed that women couldn’t marry each other, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t. This line also perpetuates the Christian ideology that marriage is for the functional purpose of procreation.
Furthermore, the way in which Jeanette glides over this possibility in her train of thought, is indicative of how ingrained this way of thinking is in her, as well as the finality of the church’s ideologies. She goes on to wonder “If only there was some way of telling, then we could operate a ration system.” This line, in concert with the aforementioned line, really demonstrate that Jeanette has been conditioned to perceive marriage as functional, as a mere pairing of two people for its own sake, rather than something done out of love.
This small passage is so revealing of the type of thinking that has been instilled in Jeanette’s mind, totally unbeknownst to her. As a reader who is aware of the events to come, this seemingly innocent train of thought makes me very sad for Jeanette and also very frustrated towards her upbringing for implanting these ideologies that are contradictory to who she innately is.