A Broken Women
- Word count: 847
- Category: Women
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Some women use their beauty and talent to manipulate men to get what they want or to get some sort of advantage. In the short story by Cathy Day “Jennie Dixianna- or the secret to the Spin of Death” the main character is Jennie, who is an acrobat in the Great Porter Circus and Menagerie, Jennie uses her beauty and personality to gain control and power over men, as well as to gain fame. Having a traumatic childhood leaves her struggling to find her own personality. Jennie has three major personality traits that leaves her struggling to figure out who she is, which are a broken personality, the idea of power, and the need to control people.
Jennie’s relationship with her father, Slater Marchette, goes from a loving relationship to a broken one that causes her to lose her personality. Jennie lost her personality the day her mother died. Since that day, Jennie was forced to take the role of her mother and father. “Jennie was the man and women of the house: cook, farmer, laundress, barter” (35) Slater abused his daughter at a young age, while aggressively raping his daughter, he took away her ability to trust men. “Ripping her dress open, dragging her by her hair before he fell on top of her. He always cried, during and after.
Jennie never cried” (35) Slater broke Jennie’s personality every time he abused her, although Jennie was strong while she was being abuse, it would leave her with issues that would affect the rest of her relationships in her life The relationship between Sister and Jennie is a strong relationship sister shows Jennie how to get power. Sister is more like a second mother to Jennie, while Slater is busy digging for lost treasure and not being a father. Jennie would go down to Sisters house and eat. At the age of sixteen, Jennie finally told Sister about her dad abusing her.
Sister, in a way, helps Jennie kill her father, not as helping her but by leading her on. Sister pushes the idea that she needs to kill her dad, by killing her dad she reclaims power and control of her life back. “Sister picked up a shovel, swung it over her shoulder like a spike-driving hammer, and then handed it to Jennie. Sister whispered, “Your mama wouldn’t have it no other way. ” (40) Also by helping Jennie kill her father Sister is gaining power back herself. (As a slave, b helping kill Slater, Sister is gaining power back for herself as well.
Back in 1865, African Americans did not have power. The treatment of slaves in the United States varied by time and place but was brutal and degrading. Slaves were usually whipped, also rape was common. Slaves were prevented from becoming literate to hinder aspirations for escape. Sister was taking back her freedom and claiming her own personality when she was helping out Jennie. The relationship with sister showed Jennie how to treat mean in her life. The relationship between Porter and Jennie reveals her need for control, by using beauty to get what she wants.
The idea of control comes from when Jennie was sixteen and killed her father, Jennie uses the idea of “control” to her advantage. She needs control to get what she wants. When Jennie sleeps with different men, they are in a hurry to leave and leave some of their valuables behind such as watches, change, and money. Jennie keeps these things in her cedar box that she had since she was little. The cedar box is where she keeps her pride position from different men she slept with. None of the stuff in the box represent her. She uses these objects that the men left behind to blackmail them into giving her what she wants.
Therefore, when Porter and Jennie sleep, together, Porter leaves a note behind: “Tomorrow, she’d ask Porter for a big tin washtub, later a feather mattress, and slowly work her way into a mirrored Pullman. If they failed to appear, Jennie would play her ace. But in the meantime, she closed her treasure chest and locked it for safekeeping” (44). Jennie does not have any feeling for Porter nor does Porter for her. Jennie is using Porter to get fame, by having fame she have full control of herself and people and power. Without having any of those things Jennie life would be upside down.
Some women uses their beauty and talent to manipulate men to get what they want. In the story “Jennie Dixianna- or The Secret to the Spin of Death” by Cathy Day, the main character, Jennie, to uses her beauty to get what she wants. Having such a traumatic childhood lead Jennie having a broken personality from her dad abusing her from a young age. As well, leads Jennie to kill her father to take power back over her life that leads her struggling to find herself. Jennie gets the idea of need of power from Sister when she and Sister kill Slater, Jennie’s father. From then on Jennie need to control people such as porter.