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Rubyfruit Jungle

Rita Mae Brown


Key Facts

Key Facts

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


 · At the end of Chapter 5, Molly foreshadows that she will see Leota again later in the novel.
 · Molly’s encounter with Mr. Beers in Chapter 7 foreshadows her unpleasant experience with Dean Marne in Chapter 10.
 · Molly’s thinking about Carrie while she discusses her film aspirations in Chapter 12 foreshadows the movie she will make about Carrie for her senior project.

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