Dialectical Journal

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“When she couldn’t come herself, she sent my father, usually with a letter and a couple of oranges. ‘The only fruit,’ she always said” (page 29). 1. Why did I choose this passage?
I chose this passage because of the mention of oranges. “Oranges are not the Only Fruit” is the title of the book, so as I read the passage, I immediately noted the reference to oranges. This struck me as interesting upon first glance, and I decided to delve further into the meaning behind the repetition of the symbol and what it stood for. 2. What is the meaning of this passage?

In this passage, Jeanette is in the hospital, having recently undergone surgery to repair her hearing. Her mother, a stubborn and decisive woman, frequently visits her, giving her oranges. She never gives Jeanette any fruit other than oranges, because, as referenced in the passage, to her, oranges are the only fruit. Throughout the novel, oranges serve as a symbol. Whenever Jeanette is upset or uncertain, her mother presents her with oranges as a form of comfort. The oranges represent the comfort and security of Jeanette’s childhood, as they were always there to sooth her in times of upset, specifically here in the hospital. Additionally, the oranges mirror her mother’s strong mindset, as everything taught to Jeanette since her birth was a result of her mother’s zealous beliefs. Jeanette, as many other children, was taught to believe everything said to by her parents, here being that oranges are the only fruit. As she soon discovers, though, she must branch out of the comfort of childish innocence and discover other fruit. 3. How does this passage connect to other parts of the text (any part, within or beyond the first fifty pages)? As mentioned above, oranges are a symbol throughout the novel. Throughout Jeanette’s childhood, she is taught to believe that the oranges are the only fruit. As she matures and discovers her identity, however, she is faced with the struggles of adolescence and teen sexuality. She...
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