66 pages • 2 hours readAshley Flowers
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The mistrust of mothers is a motif that indicates the deeply rooted sexism within American society. Society harshly judges mothers for every decision they make. Because women have historically been the primary caretakers in the United States, fathers often avoid the critical gaze that society turns on mothers. This kind of scrutiny actively harms everyone in the family unit, and, in the case of Krissy and Billy, results in dire consequences.
The town’s mistrust of Krissy as a mother and their willingness to believe in her guilt play a role in obscuring the truth of January’s murder for 25 years. Through her interviews with people in town, Margot notes that, while they claim to believe in Krissy’s innocence in 2019, people still place blame squarely on Krissy’s head: “Krissy was undeniably jealous of January [...] She couldn’t handle knowing that Billy loved January more than he loved her [...] Krissy couldn’t handle a family [...] Krissy was absolutely an unfit mother” (79-80). Notably absent is criticism directed toward Krissy’s partner in parenthood, Billy. The townspeople do not accuse Billy of failing to protect his daughter, nor do they judge him for having children at a young age, the way they judge Krissy for her teenage pregnancy.