| Quote #7
Madame Hoo served in a tight-fitting silk gown slit high up her thigh, a costume as old-fashioned and impractical as bound feet. Women in China wore blouses and pants and jackets. That's what she would wear when she got home. (16.2)
While Madame Hoo is wearing Grace's idea of what Chinese society is like, she's really thinking about how stupid that assumption is. Grace thinks having Madame Hoo at her party dressed up like this makes her look classier, but what it really does is emphasize her prejudice against and ignorance about Chinese culture.
| Quote #8
'I sure hope Doctor Deere likes asparagus," someone remarked. The giver said she could return it for something else, although two might come in handy. "A doctor's wife has so much entertaining to do." (16.10)
Uh-oh. Here's where part of the book's late 1970s mindset shows through. This moment isn't very feminist. That may not be the book's fault – it's probably a pretty realistic depiction of a 1970s bridal shower. But it also reinforces Angela's worries that she isn't defined as anything apart from Dr. Deere's partner. The other people at the bridal shower worry about whether Dr. Deere enjoys asparagus, not whether Angela does, and they act like Angela's individuality will be obscured by the larger role of "doctor's wife."
| Quote #9
How come he didn't know that? Because no one ever wonders where a cleaning woman lives, that's why. But he wasn't like that, was he? (18.23)
Theo's conscience strikes again. In questioning the assumption that people don't think about where cleaning staff live, he implicates himself as one of those people. Even though he's become more and more conscientious about stuff like this, Theo still has to work through his preconceived notions and ideas about people, which are often based on their appearances. Here, he realizes he'd been judging Crow based on her class standing. Let's get uncomfortable for a second – before this moment in the text, did you ever stop to think about where Crow was living?