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The world cannot be reduced to binary oppositions of all good or all evil; neither of them is constant or exclusive.
One secondary theme of this novel is that religion reflects its followers, not its deity. A god is not responsible for what his/her people do in his/her name.
Another secondary theme of the novel is that love cannot be denied. Regardless of one's personal, familial, or religious beliefs, one must be true to oneself.
The mood is one of confusion. At an early age, Jeanette is confronted with contradictory positions: her religion is at odds with her personal feelings. She is told that what feels "good" to her is "bad," but it is never explained to her. What exacerbates this confusion is that the religion in which she is raised is based on absolutes; there are no gray areas in fundamental religious practices.