Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
The story switches back to Jeanette's narrative about her mother's conversion. Her mother dreams that night that she would get a child that would be "a missionary child," "a servant of God," and "a blessing." According to the story, her mother follows a star to the particular orphanage and the particular crib that Jeanette is in. Jeanette screams for seven days and nights while her mother "stabbed the demons." Thus, Jeanette "sprung from her head" instead of her womb. The narrative then breaks for a brief moment to where Jeanette and her mother are standing on a hill, and her mother says, "This world is full of sin . . . You can change the world."
One Sunday when Jeanette and her mother arrive home, Jeanette's father is watching wrestling on television, which was supposed to remain silent and be covered with a "DEEDS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT" cloth on Sunday. This special cloth was given to them by a man who cleaned out old houses and was kept in a drawer with a piece of Tiffany glass and a lease to a Lebanese sheep farm, which they had originally thought was part of the Old Testament.
That night, there is a special speaker at church, Pastor Finch, who is an expert on demons. Finch asks Jeanette how old she is, and she answers that she is seven. He then says "how blessed," because so many good things come in sevens, and then "how cursed," because evil can also come in sevens. In a foreboding statement, he adds, "The best can become the worst . . . This innocent child, this bloom of the Covenant." He warns them that good men can become evil, and they are not as easily misled as women who in turn are not as easily misled as children are. Jeanette leaves the room, goes into the Sunday school room, and rearranges the felt "Daniel in the Lions' Den" cutouts. Finch walks in and asks her why Daniel is being devoured, and she makes a quick answer about Jonah. He is suspicious about her teachings, but only insists that the scene is returned to its correct appearance.
While they are walking home, Jeanette thinks to herself, "Poor Mrs. Finch" to have to put up with him all the time. She then decides that maybe it is good not to marry. Later, when Jeanette is getting ready to go to bed, she mentions that her mother stays up until four a.m. and that her father gets up at five, a convenient situation for a woman who abhors the thought of sex.
Jeanette asks her mother one day if she can learn French, and she says no, because it nearly led to her downfall through a man named Pierre. Her mother avoids telling her the story. Then Jeanette asks her why she does not go to school. She is told that it is a "breeding ground" which will lead her astray. Jeanette does not know what that means, but assumes it is related to "unnatural passions." The chapter concludes with a letter that arrives and states that Jeanette must go to school; she responds with a private, "the breeding ground at last."