The Female Man 9/18

Hello, all! The novel continues to be a bit confusing to me because I still can’t make sense of time periods, planets, or perspectives (although it seems that the perspectives are becoming more clearly identified in each chapter than in the first 3 parts of the novel). I’ve noticed that the author uses a lot of repetition of thoughts, feelings, and phrases, especially when the character is speaking in italics rather than in bold (and I wonder what the significance of the bold writing has rather than using quotation marks for dialogue). One of the most interesting things to me that helped me understand the development of the story is the dynamic between characters, specifically between Janet and Laur and between Cal and Jeannette. Janet and Laur kind of have this forbidden love/lust thing going on. I think they even tried to begin a sexual relationship, but both struggled with the taboo that there was such a big age difference between them, yet it seems that they truly do care for each other. Similarly, Jeannette contradicts herself over and over again when she speaks of her feelings for Cal. She talks badly about him the majority of the time, saying that she is bored and that she doesn’t think he is husband material. However, she throws in some occasional thoughts (in italics usually) about how she could never let him go and she knows he truly loves her and is good to her. It is even more contradictory when she begins to pursue X, who she has convinced herself could be the man she marries. Yet immediately after she thinks this, she calls Cal to tell him that she will marry him. I don’t know if she has had a realization or a change of heart, or if she is just in total desperation to get married since she thinks this is the only way she will ever be happy in her life. Overall, I would like to explore in class the author’s use of repetition and italics and what significance and impact it has on the tone of each chapter.

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2 responses to “The Female Man 9/18

  1. Jeannine sticking with Cal could definitely be because she wants a husband. She wants someone to provide for her, but she flip-flops between wanting to be with him and wanting out of the situation. I think this is reflecting more on the society than on Jeannine herself. The man is seen as the provider for the home; perhaps Jeannine sees this and thinks that without a husband she will not be able to make it on her own.
    The struggle between wanting to be happy in her relationship (which is not happening) and wanting to be happy in life (by happy in life I mean stable, provided for) is one I think is playing out within Jeannine, and because of it, we see her going back and forth with what she thinks she wants.

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  2. I really don’t think that she’s had a change of heart at all- I believe that she thinks things will honestly get better once she gets married. i think she sees marriage as sort of the band-aid that will heal all of the unhappiness in her life- and she settles for Cal to be that person to catalyze that event. I don’t think she really truly loves him, yes maybe she cares for him, but she definitely goes to settle with him.

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