Chapter one of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit foreshadows Jeanette’s impending homosexuality. Readers are left with unanswered questions at the end of the chapter. Is the gypsy’s prediction correct? Will Alison attend school? Will her mother become more liberal after Jeannette begins this new journey into the social world? However, one thing I fear the most, after finishing Genesis is whether or not Alison is a lesbian. The gypsy’s prediction along with Alison’s mother disapproval of the two unmarried women’s “unnatural passion” forces readers to think about what groundbreaking event will take place in Alison and her mother’s life.
The reason I use the word “fear” is because I, like Jeanette, come from an extremely religious background. While we might have differing religions, one of the basic scriptures of our religion consists of heterosexual marriage: the common mutual bond between a male and a female. For religious people, especially extremists, a homosexual relationship defies the law of marriage. Similar to what Jeanette’s mother calls the two unmarried women, who I assume to be gay, homosexual relationships, in a religious context, seems unnatural. While some people are brought up to think this way, others take action on the matter and try to prevent homosexuality as if it is a “disease” that can be cured.
After finishing the first chapter of the book, I remembered a commercial talked about in a comedy show that I watch. I was interested to find out what the comedian was referring to, so I looked up the video to find an anti-gay commercial. This commercial, funded by a religious group (although I am unsure about what religion), depicts children who are confused about homosexuality. One child says, One child says, “My teacher said if grandpa was a girl, [grandma] could still marry him.” From this dialogue, we can see why Jeanette’s mother refers to schools as a “Breeding Ground.” In fact, most religious people I know discourage public education, and they attempt to enroll their children in religious schools. This fear of education exists primarily because parents are afraid that their children will acknowledge the different types of people in the world and perhaps even explore their options before accepting a definite religion. For this reason, religious parents fear the loss of faith in their children because of a higher education.
The comedian talking about this commercial in his stand-up made a point that appealed to me. He stated, “When the child comes home and goes Mommy I’m confused, parents panic and think ‘I have to talk to my kids,’ so they immediately say “no” to the bill.” Even though the comment was made in jest, the reality of it is undeniable. Most religious parents are afraid to talk to their children, or at least people in my religion are. Like Jeanette’s mother, people in my religion cannot openly talk about sex between a married man and woman, so talking about pre-marital sex between same-sex couples horrifies them. They use the excuse of “shame “to avoid answering questions, but they never truly explain why the Bible or any other scripture condemns gay marriage. Therefore, I agree with the comedian in saying that taking the time out to explain homosexuality to one’s children is probably more of an excuse for religious people to deny gay rights rather than religion itself.
Although I have not read this book before, from personal experience, I can predict that Jeanette’s mother will react crazily to her sexuality. Her fear of the Devil and her fear of societal advancement will work together to create denial for her daughter’s sexual orientation. I have seen extreme religious people take rather extreme actions when it comes to “preventing” homosexuality. They will attempt to do anything from exorcizing the individual to forcefully getting their children marries. The fear of the unknown causes religious beings to react in such a way, and that is why I fear the mother’s reaction in the upcoming chapters.