Discuss Jean Louise's gender identity. How does she feel about being a woman?
Jean Louise despises the traditional femininity of her community, and is likewise disgusted (in childhood) by the biological facts that accompany her development into a woman. Nevertheless, she complies with expectations for performing her gender, out of obligation. Ask students to suggest ways in which adult Jean Louise resists gender norms, including suggesting an affair to Henry, preferring trousers, and jumping into the lake. Make sure students note that the only significant female presence in Jean Louise's childhood was Calpurnia; Alexandra didn't become a major presence in the family until...
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