1. No one remembers her beginnings. Mothers and aunts tell us about infancy and early childhood, hoping we won’t forget the past when they had total control over our lives and secretly praying that because of it, we’ll include them in our future.
This passage, which comprises the opening paragraph of the novel, establishes Molly’s stance on the importance of origins in a person’s character. Her insight into the secret hopes that mothers and aunts harbor implies that Molly sees a selfish motive in family members’ constant reminders of childhood. Molly seems to understand that parents need children as much as children need parents. Because parents inevitably see their children as versions of themselves, they will hold the past over their children in order to imprint themselves onto the next generation, just as Carrie does to Molly at the end of the novel. As an orphan and a bastard, Molly obviously feels disconnected from her predecessors. Her orphan status highlights the fact that, though she has no control over her past, she also is not beholden to it as she goes about creating her own character. However, Molly’s point in this quotation is that we all create and are responsible for our own characters, regardless of our origins. Whether or not she feels a need to defend her orphan status, Molly demonstrates that she believes wholly in the present and its extension into the future, the two things over which she has some control.
In addition to establishing Molly’s belief in herself, this passage also helps to illuminate the origins of Molly’s sexuality. Molly believes that our origins not only have little to do with the decisions we make, but they also have little to do with who we are as people. Accordingly, Molly’s lesbianism exists independent of external factors and circumstances of birth. Molly’s lesbianism is merely a part of who she is and thus requires no psychological explanation. In this light, we may view Molly’s early childhood experience with Broccoli as a joke that toys with the idea that Molly’s lesbianism is related to her revulsion at his wrinkly penis.