37 pages 1 hour read

Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2019

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Chapter 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 2, Section 1 Summary: “Carole”

Carole, a young financial executive, reflects on her struggle to succeed in a male-dominated workplace. She traces her love of math to her mother. She recalls how she used math to endure the pain and humiliation of being gang-raped as a teenager at her friend LaTisha’s party, led by a young man named Trey: “Carole forces herself to think of her favourite number, 1729” (126).

After the rape, Carole tells no one, though she does decide to turn her life around. With the help of her teacher Mrs. Shirley King, Carole begins to excel in school. She eventually gets into the prestigious Oxford University, where she feels like a misfit due to her race and working-class background. When Carole suggests to her mother that she might drop out of school, her mother, Bummi, replies, “[Y]ou must go back and fight the battles that are your British birthright, Carole, as a true Nigerian” (143). Heeding her mother’s words, Carole befriends a host of wealthy students who expose her to a new side of life. She begins coming home less and turning her nose up at her mother’s traditional Nigerian food.

She is now engaged to Freddy, a wealthy white British man who admits to her that he skated through college and his career search on his parents’ connections.

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Related Titles

By Bernardine Evaristo