The story Vittoria is telling ‘Joanna’ starting on page 95 ends with Joanna thinking it’s about her. Before we talked about it in class, I took the story as the little girl being strayed away from her true identity or the life she wanted to live. Perhaps the place where she has her own species is Whileaway and the bears might symbolize men. But at the same time I wasn’t sure because her male-best-bear-friend would not copulate with her for the fear of bestiality and her not being like him. She didn’t belong there. I tied this to the “conversation” with Jeannine on page 123. It almost seemed like she was confused on what type of love she wanted.
“I want love.”
‘Go ahead. The world’s full of people.’
‘You have a date right here.’
“Not that way, not the real way.”
“I want something else, something else.”
I took that as she was confused as what she wanted for herself, she didn’t know who she wanted or should love. Jeannine seemed to be the lost girl in the woods. She eventually comes back to herself and agrees to marry Cal. But for those couple pages she didn’t know who she was or what she really felt. I think this is why I connected Jeannine to the story Vittoria told in Whileaway. I also think that Jeannine is repressing feelings she knows she “shouldn’t” have by snapping back to reality by sewing the clothes, not smoking, and getting married to a man-Cal.
Russ, Joanna. The Female Man. Boston: Beacon, 1986. Print. 95-99 & 121-123.