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This novel is a social novel because the major content of the book is its treatment of human nature and the way people effect each other. In this case, that social imagery belongs to the home, so it is a treatment of the society of one's own family and the perplexing manner by which those experiences seem to program an adult personality from scratch. The imagery of husband and wife is inflamed by chronic dysfunction, and the family is hostile because they each seek their own goals at the expense of the other.
Money and economy
Money is a dominant imagery in the novel because the inciting incident is the introduction of valuable property into the family's story by way of inheritance. The money instantly drives the parents into disagreement, and since the spending of money is inherently severe, they try in vain to fight toward some conclusion. Once they are contented with fighting, they each retreat and begin scheming against the other spouse. The daughters find out by eavesdropping, and when the issue reaches its peak, the mother executes a secret trade and seizes the inheritance in cash, which the husband discovers and wastes just to spite her. Money is an imagery that points toward betrayal in this book.
Barbados as an alternative
By the end of the book, there has been so much discussion about what life might have been like in Barbados that Selina decides she might try her luck there. The reader will notice the similarity between her point of view and her father's point of view. Her father also feels a tendency to escape the meaningless life he has in his current situation. Barbados is a hypothetical imagery that underlines the fact that—although the adult characters tend to play the victim of their situation—there is always the choice to go somewhere new and change one's life entirely.
Maturity and growth
Selina is also concerned with her mental growth and her physical maturation. The novel covers her opinions about menstruation, about being a female, about what life is like for women, etc. It also covers the intimate concerns that Selina feels about her ethical progress in life. She struggles with emotions of severe shame because she has been programmed by family dysfunction to believe that she is always betraying someone by taking a side. The maturity of her character is seen when she realizes that she is not ready for commitment, instead of rushing into something and repeating the cycle of dysfunction.
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