My English II class is reading Fried Green Tomatoes and my teacher was trying to explain that the author never really says that the Idgie and Ruth were in love with each other.
Bitch….I’ve written about a married lesbian running for president in your class, the least you can do is say they gay. It literally says that Idgie loves Ruth. Loves her. IDGIE COMPARES THEIR LOVE TO RUTH’S SUPPOSED LOVE FOR A MAN.
“What was this power, this insidious threat, this invisible gun to her head that controlled her life … this terror of being called names? She had stayed a virgin so she wouldn’t be called a tramp or a slut; had married so she wouldn’t be called an old maid; faked orgasms so she wouldn’t be called frigid; had children so she wouldn’t be called barren; had not been a feminist because she didn’t want to be called queer and a man hater; never nagged or raised her voice so she wouldn’t be called a bitch … She had done all that and yet, still, this stranger had dragged her into the gutter with the names that men call women when they are angry.”
She had stayed a virgin so she wouldn’t be called a tramp; had married so she wouldn’t be called an old maid; faked orgasms so she wouldn’t be called frigid; had children so she wouldn’t be called barren; had not been a feminist because she didn’t want to be called queer and a man hater; never nagged or raised her voice so she wouldn’t be called a bitch…..
She had done all that and yet, still, this stranger had dragged her into the gutter with the names that men call women when they are angry.
Evelyn wondered, why always sexual names? And why when men wanted to degrade other men, did they call them pussies? As if that was the worst thing in the world. What have we done to be thought of that way? To be called cunt?
Evelyn Couch, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
This is for anyone who’s watched Fried Green Tomatoes and wondered if Ruth & Idgie are supposed to be read explicitly as a couple or just as best friends. The film does a weird job of both showing them as a couple raising a kid together, but keeping it ambiguous enough that they could still be mistaken for good friends. Every description of the film, including the back of the DVD calls them “friends” and it’s bullshit. They’re a couple. They are in romantic love with each other. Don’t ever doubt it.
From Fannie Flagg’s novel itself. Idgie’s POV (of the bee charmer scene) followed by Ruth’s POV of her decision to marry Frank Bennett:
I rest my case.
(There are obviously many other examples from the novel - including Idgie’s own mother telling Idgie’s siblings not to tease her about her crush on Ruth; and lovely Sipsey teasing Idgie that she’s been bitten by “the love bug”. But rather than me including every example, you may as well read the novel yourself!)
a mix for idgie and ruth, for evelyn and mrs. threadgoode: for stump and dot weems and sipsey and big george. even for reverend scroggins.
a mix for whistlestop, alabama: a town with a living, beating heart.
leaner days (husky) | morning song (chris and thomas) | helplessness blues (fleet foxes) | return to darden road (beta radio) | land of sea (chris and thomas) | tiger striped sky (roo panes) | gotta have you (the weepies) | the truth is a cave (the oh hellos) | ghost train (thomas newman) | farewell (husky)
“It’s easy to like someone from a distance. But when she stopped being this amazing attainable thing or whatever, and started being, like, just a regular girl with a weird relationship with food and frequent crankiness who’s kinda bossy, then I had to basically start liking a whole different person.”
Ruth was so excited to take a trip in her family’s new car! In the early 1950s, few African Americans could afford to buy cars, so this would be an adventure. But she soon found out that black travelers weren’t treated very well in some towns. Many hotels and gas stations refused service to black people. Daddy was upset about something called Jim Crow laws…
Finally, a friendly attendant at a gas station showed Ruth’s family The Green Book. It listed all of the places that would welcome black travelers. With this guidebook–and the kindness of strangers–Ruth could finally make a safe journey from Chicago to her grandma’s house in Alabama.
Ruth’s story is fiction, but The Green Book and its role in helping a generation of African American travelers avoid some of the indignities of Jim Crow are historical fact.
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Alexander Ramsey illustrated by Floyd Cooper
African-Americans, History, Civil Rights, Travel
In the 1950’s African-Americans were still discriminated against in many places so a man named Victor Green wrote The Green Book to list hotels, gas stations, and other places where African-Americans could stop when they were traveling. In this children’s book, Ruth and her family travel from Chicago to Alabama where they encounter discrimination but also see the kindness of strangers. A beautifully illustrated and touching book, I would recommend this to children and adults alike for its study of history and human rights.