Rubyfruit Jungle Study Guide

Rubyfruit Jungle

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Rubyfruit Jungle is a 1973 novel by Rita Mae Brown about Molly Bolt's coming of age. Molly is a lesbian who has an unstable relationship with her mother, Carrie, though her father, Carl, supports and encourages her. Molly has several same-sex relationships and eventually excels in high school, later earning a scholarship to the University of Florida. However, after her relationship with her roommate is revealed, Molly is denied the scholarship and moves to New York where she encounters other hardships as a lesbian.

The novel focuses on Molly Bolt, the adopted daughter of a poor family, who possesses remarkable beauty and who is aware of her lesbianism from early childhood. Her relationship with her mother is rocky, and at a young age her mother, referred to as "Carrie," informs Molly that she is not her own biological child but a "bastard." Molly has her first same-sex sexual relationship in the sixth grade with her girlfriend Leota B. Bisland, and then again in a Florida high school, where she has another sexual relationship with another friend, the school's head cheerleader Carolyn Simpson, who willingly has sex with Molly but rejects the "lesbian" label. Molly also engages in sex with males, including her cousin Leroy when the two were younger. Her father, Carl, dies when she is in her junior year of high school.

In a combination of her strong-willed nature and disdain for Carrie, Molly pushes herself to excel in high school, winning a full scholarship to the University of Florida. Unlike Carrie, Carl had always supported Molly's goals and education. However, when Molly's relationship with her alcoholic roommate is discovered, she is denied a renewal of her scholarship. Possessing little money, she moves to New York to pursue an education in filmmaking. Upon reaching New York, she realizes that the rubyfruit is maybe not as delicious and varied as she had dreamed within the concrete jungle.

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