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Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

Jeanette Winterson

Chapter 4: Numbers

Chapter 3: Leviticus

Chapter 4: Numbers, page 2

page 1 of 3
Summary

Jeanette has a recurring dream that she is getting married in a white dress with a golden crown. As she walks up the aisle, she finds that he crown is growing heavier and heavier. When she reaches her future husband, she finds that he either has become blind, a pig, is a suit with nothing inside, or is her mother.

Jeanette's dream makes her think about relationships between men and women. Jeanette begins to worry if there are any men who are not pigs out there. She considers the example of "Beauty and the Beast" and wonders if all men turn into princes on their wedding night, as in the fable. Jeanette consults her aunt, but her aunt just tells her to get a boyfriend. When Jeanette approaches her mother, her mother offers her an orange and refers to her favorite book, Jane Eyre. As a child, Jeanette heard Jane Eyre again and again, but Jeanette's mother always changed the ending so that Jane married St. John Rivers and they went off on a mission together. Jeanette reflects that she has since read the real version of Jane Eyre. The ending shocked her so much that it reminded her of the day that she found her adoption papers while looking for a pack of playing cards. Since that time, she has never read Jane Eyre again and never played cards.

Jeanette later decides to just worry about love when it happens to her sometime. Then she says that one day, it did.

Jeanette and her mother head to town on the bus where they run into Auntie May and Ida, one of the lesbian women who run the paper shop. Jeanette's mother is civil to Ida and they all agree to meet up later. Jeanette and her mother go to the butcher shop. Inside, Jeanette tears her raincoat on a meat hook. Jeanette's mother then buys her a huge and hideous pink coat from a nearby shop. Jeanette is horrified.

Despite her horror, Jeanette feels suddenly mollified upon seeing a nice looking girl who is boning a kipper at a fish stand. She is Melanie. Jeanette approaches Melanie, but Melanie cannot talk. When Jeanette tries again, Melanie is gone. Jeanette and her mother meet Auntie May and Ida at an ice cream shop. The waitress offers Jeanette a Saturday job washing dishes, which Jeanette accepts.

Jeanette uses her Saturdays from then on to go to work but also to spy on Melanie. One day Melanie is not at her stand and Jeanette feels distressed. Later she runs into Melanie in the street and learns that Melanie has gotten a new job at the library. The two girls talk. Melanie agrees to come visit Jeanette's church.

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