*Spoilers – Please do not read until you have completed the reading for 10/17*
I recently completed the reading for Monday, and I found myself noticing a lot of references to “churning” in Jazz. From pages 98-102, we are given quite a bit of background information regarding Violet’s family. Violet’s mother is called “Rose Dear”. (I also think it is important to note that both of the women’s names are flowers). The narrator explains how Violet refuses to turn into her mother: “Sitting in the thin sharp light of the drugstore playing with a long spoon in a tall glass made her think of another woman occupying herself at a table pretending to drink from a cup. Her mother. She didn’t want to be like that. Oh never like that” (97). Violet remembers men coming into the house and ransacking it for all it was worth (97). I wonder if this was because Rose was not paying bills, or because she simply allowed these men to come in and take whatever they wanted. Either way, Violet claims she will not turn into her mother.
Back to churning! So, Rose’s mother drowns herself in a well (99). That water took Rose’s life, “Violet never forgot Rose Dear–or the place she had thrown herself into–a place so narrow, so dark, it was pure, breathing relief to see her stretched in a wooden box “(101). Violet is relieved to know her mother has passed, but staying in the place where she grew up is no longer an option. We learn: “As Violet grew older, she could no longer stay where she was nor go away. The well sucked her sleep, but the notion of leaving frightened her” (102). At this point in her life, Violet is considering committing suicide the same way her mother had. I think there is not only the churning of the well, but the churning of Rose and Violet’s blood. Rose and Violet are both mentally unstable, they both react to unwanted situations in dangerous ways. (Rose threw herself into a well, whereas Violet stabbed Dorcas’ dead body during her funeral). I think the churn of their blood is important, and part of the reason Violet did not have children was to halt that churning.
Do any of you agree/disagree? Are there any more instances of “churning” in our recent reading?