Rubyfruit Jungle | Study Guide

Rita Mae Brown

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Rubyfruit Jungle | Book 3, Chapter 12 | Summary

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Summary

Molly finds a ratty apartment to rent for $62.50 per month and a twin mattress on the street that she drags up as her sole piece of furniture. Then she gets a job as a waitress at The Flick, a hamburger joint. She has to dress up like a bunny, but the job gives her enough money to live on. She spends her weekends and $5 of disposable income each week at gay bars, an experience she finds pathetic but the only answer to her loneliness.

After a few weeks a young, beautiful, six-foot-tall African American woman comes into The Flick for ice cream and coffee and hits on Molly. "I'm coming back here to pick you up at twelve," she announces, and she shows up just as Molly is getting off work. Molly learns the woman is named Holly and is 25.

The next day Holly gets herself hired at The Flick so she can work the same shift as Molly. They often go out together after work, but it is several weeks before Molly learns Holly is a "kept woman," the lover of a famous actress. Holly invites Molly to come with her to a party and meet other wealthy lesbians, and Molly agrees. Then Holly takes her to her large, well-furnished apartment for the first time, and they make love.

The party is held at the apartment of a well-known archeologist, Chryssa Hart. Molly goes first to Holly's apartment and meets Holly's lover, the actress Kim Wilson, and the three go to the party together. Molly likes Kim because she seems down to earth and rescues her from the older women at the party who don't disguise their desire for her. Chryssa is especially interested in Molly and invites her to lunch at an expensive restaurant the following week.

At lunch Chryssa is not subtle in suggesting Molly be her "kept woman." She even hints she will pay Molly's way through film school. But Molly is too proud and independent to be "kept." She actually is surprised when she finds herself thinking about Florence and Carrie and how they influenced her to remain dependent on no one but herself. As she rides home on the train, Molly promises herself to go "to N.Y.U. tomorrow and [tell] those academic robots that they're giving me a scholarship. I'm the hottest thing since Eisenstein; they're lucky to be able to help me in my formative stage."

Analysis

Despite Molly's claims she does not need romance in a relationship, the type of arrangement Holly has with Kim and that Chryssa wants with her is offensive to Molly. As she considers why she is unable to take Chryssa's money, her explanation might surprise readers: "If that woman loved me it'd be different or if I loved her. I'd take anything she gave me then." Her pride cannot allow her to accept money when she feels as though she's just "a piece of meat."

The truth is Molly needs to be valued, whether it is by her mother who rejects her or by a woman who wants her as a lover. Yet she knows this need makes her vulnerable—and vulnerability makes her angry—but it motivates her: "I'm not sittin' here ... feeling sorry for myself." Instead she has to keep herself focused and motivated, moving away from a life she hates toward a life she wants.

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