Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

Mrs. Vole Character Analysis

The head of Jeanette’s school. Together with Mrs. Virtue, she corners Jeanette and demands that Jeanette explain why she is terrorizing her classmates with her morbid religious sayings and bizarre understanding of the world. Jeanette attempts to explain to Mrs. Vole that she simply has no other way of seeing things, as her mother has taught her everything she knows based on the Old Testament. Mrs. Vole and Mrs. Virtue essentially throw their hands up in the end, declining to punish Jeanette for her oddities but never helping her to overcome them, to learn as quickly as the other children, or to make friends and fit in.

Mrs. Vole Quotes in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

The Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Vole or refer to Mrs. Vole. 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.
2. Exodus Quotes

“Jeanette, we think you may be having problems at school. Do you want to tell us about them?”

“I’m all right.” I shuffled defensively.

“You do seem rather pre-occupied, shall we say, with God. Your sampler, for instance, had a very disturbing motif. And why did you choose to write about hoopoos and rock badgers in your animal book, and in one case, I believe, shrimps?”

“My mother taught me to read,” I told them.

“Your reading skills are quite unusual, but you haven’t answered my question.”

How could I?

My mother had taught me to read from the Book of Deuteronomy because it is full of animals (mostly unclean). Whenever we read “Thou shall not eat any beast that does not chew the cut or part of the hoof” she drew all the creatures mentioned. Horses, bunnies, and little ducks were vague fabulous things, but I knew all about pelicans, rock badgers, sloths and bats. This tendency towards the exotic has brought me many problems.

Related Characters: Jeanette (speaker), Mrs. Vole
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Vole Character Timeline in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Vole appears in Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
2. Exodus
Religion and Control Theme Icon
Women and Womanhood Theme Icon
...called into the office by her teacher Mrs. Virtue and the head of the school, Mrs. Vole , and asked about her problems with the other children. The two women noted that... (full context)
Storytelling, Fantasy, and Invention Theme Icon
Religion and Control Theme Icon
Women and Womanhood Theme Icon
...Jeanette apologized, saying that she thought what she was telling her school friends was interesting. Mrs. Vole sent Jeanette away, promising to write to her mother. (full context)
Storytelling, Fantasy, and Invention Theme Icon
Religion and Control Theme Icon
After her meeting with Mrs. Virtue and Mrs. Vole , Jeanette felt depressed, and began to look fervently ahead to the time when she... (full context)
Storytelling, Fantasy, and Invention Theme Icon
Religion and Control Theme Icon
Women and Womanhood Theme Icon
Shortly after the meeting with Mrs. Virtue and Mrs. Vole , all of Jeanette’s classmates began ignoring her, but she did not mind, believing deep... (full context)