Never had I found such comfort in a void, in the black absence of knowledge. It seemed to say: whatever you are, you are woman.

This quotation occurs in Chapter 30, after Tara becomes interested in the history of feminism and reads a quote from John Stuart Mill saying that nothing definitive can be known about the nature of women. Growing up, Tara has often been critical about gender roles and expectations for women. She has been raised to believe that women should not have ambitions, should be obedient to men, and should not question male authority. However, Tara knows from watching her mother, and from her own experiences, that women can be smart, capable, and strong. This contrast has left Tara feeling confused and ashamed. She thinks there must be something wrong with her because she cannot reconcile what she has been told about women with how she feels about actually being a woman. This confusion is what drives her to finally become curious about what thinkers and writers from the past have had to say about this subject. Tara finds the quotation from Mill comforting because it gives her space for self-definition and creating her own identity.