Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Mrs. Arkwright Character Analysis

A woman who runs a pest control shop in Factory Bottom, an impoverished neighborhood in Jeanette’s hometown. At the end of the novel, unable to revive her floundering business, Mrs. Arkwright tells Jeanette of her plan to burn her shop down for insurance money, symbolically mirroring Jeanette’s own “burning” of her previous life to the ground.

Mrs. Arkwright Quotes in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

The Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Arkwright or refer to Mrs. Arkwright . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling, Fantasy, and Invention Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove edition of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit published in 1985.
3. Leviticus Quotes

The conference was booked for a Saturday, and there was always a market on Saturdays, so my mother gave me an orange box and told me to shout at everyone what was happening. I had a bad time. It was raining and I wanted to do a good job. Eventually Mrs. Arkwright took pity on me. She let me put my orange box inside the shelter of her stall, so that I could give out [pamphlets] without getting too wet.

“[Your] mother’s mad,” she kept saying.

She might have been right, but there was nothing I could do about it. I was relieved when two o’ clock came and I could go inside with the rest.

“How many tracts did you give out?” demanded my mother, who was hovering by the door.

“All of them.”

She softened. “Good girl.”

The sermon was on perfection, and it was at that moment that I began to develop my first theological disagreement.

Related Characters: Jeanette (speaker), Mother (speaker), Mrs. Arkwright (speaker)
Related Symbols: Oranges
Page Number: 61-62
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Arkwright Character Timeline in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Arkwright appears in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. Genesis
Religion and Control Theme Icon
...neighborhood, Factory Bottoms, they pass an open pest control shop run by a woman named Mrs. Arkwright , who calls the women in to say hello. Mrs. Arkwright complains that business is... (full context)
3. Leviticus
Religion and Control Theme Icon
Women and Womanhood Theme Icon
Transgression and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...raining, and many street vendors shout at her to get out of the way. Eventually Mrs. Arkwright from the pest control shop takes pity on Jeanette and invites her to share her... (full context)
8. Ruth
Women and Womanhood Theme Icon
...some errands. Jeanette picks up a pair of snow boots and then decides to visit Mrs. Arkwright at the pest shop. Jeanette asks Mrs. Arkwright how business is, and Mrs. Arkwright reveals... (full context)