full title · Rubyfruit Jungle
author · Rita Mae Brown
type of work · Novel
genre · Coming-of-age novel; feminist novel; lesbian novel; bildungsroman; picaresque; Southern novel; mother/daughter novel
language · English
time and place written · 1972–1973; Washington, D.C.
date of first publication · 1973
publisher · Daughters Press
narrator · Molly Bolt, the protagonist
point of view · The narrator speaks in the first person, and we experience everything through her subjective recollections, perceptions, and assumptions about events and other characters.
tone · Humorous; irreverent; bawdy; polemical; candid
tense · Past, with occasional passages in the present tense
setting (time) · The 1950s and the 1960s
setting (place) · Southern Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; New York City
narrator · Molly Bolt
major conflict · Molly Bolt struggles against institutional prejudices and other people’s hostility toward her because of her sexuality and liberal views in order to find her place in society and succeed in life.
rising action · As a seven-year-old, Molly starts an informal business that consists of charging other elementary school students to look at her friend Broccoli’s penis.
climax · Molly’s mother, Carrie, finds out about Molly’s “business” and explodes in rage, calling Molly arrogant and immoral and revealing to Molly that she is a bastard child.
falling action · Molly lives in defiance of her mother, who desires for Molly to be ladylike and proper, as well as in defiance of anyone or anything that tries to keep her from being herself and reaching her goals.
themes · The role of sexuality in the search for the self; the exploitative nature of capitalism; the oppressive nature of the patriarchal system; nature as a source of strength
motifs · Humor; names and naming; verb tense change; role-playing/acting
symbols · The forest; the city; drainpipes; Polina, Paul, and Mr. Bellantoni