In Chapter 9, the sisters come face to face, making the rift between them very clear.
If you didn’t know which sister was meant to be the hero and which was meant to be the villain, you probably learned the difference in this chapter. Not that it wasn’t obvious before, but now, we see another side of Jill — namely, how she acts around her inferiors. She abuses the status she has, views it as her right. Jack’s conversation with the stallholder at the end makes it clear that she has acted worse than this before, and could act much worse out of jealousy. Being Jack’s friend is dangerous. We have been warned.
“I’d have to teach you how to be a lady. But you could come home.”
Jill’s invitation shows us how far Jack has come, and how far Jill hasn’t. Jill still thinks Jack could fit into her old role of the obedient girl who wears pretty dresses. That Jack uses her mother’s teachings to refuse is telling. To Jack, Jill represents the past that she left behind. She sees Jack and their mother saw Jack—as someone who could be used. When Jill advocates for sisterly togetherness, she isn’t thinking of Jack’s happiness, but her own. Jack is the only friend she is allowed to have, and now that Jack is not ‘first’ in the eyes of the Master, Jill is eager to have her back.
“The Master was a jealous man. He didn’t want her to have anything in her life except for him, and he was happy to do whatever he deemed necessary to make sure that he remained the centre of her world.”
This is the reason Jack has grown, while Jill hasn’t. Jack has been allowed to mingle with the village people, and thus has been accepted by them. She can build a new life and be a new person, because the master she chose gives her that freedom. She can be both Dr. Bleak’s apprentice and Alexis Chopper’s girlfriend. By contrast, Jill cannot be both the Master’s daughter and the village children’s friend. She’s been allowed all the luxury and the trappings of femininity that she wants, but she isn’t allowed to stray outside the role the Master has made for her. Jack escaped the cage her parents built. Jill merely found a new one.
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