And here is another one from Marilyn French’s Our Father. This time an old chestnut. Mary, the middle one (of the legitimate sisters) is discussing feminism with illegitimate and coloured Ronnie:
… As long as women have the babies they will need protection.
I beg your pardon?
Who do they need protection from?
Really, Ronny, your grammar …
Fuck my grammar, Mary. Why do women need … (p. 140)
Elsewhere is this blog there is a post on the disappearance of whom, and Marilyn French’s comment is in line with this development.
I’ll have to read on to see if there is any more of it in the novel.
…And the “I beg your pardon” is nice, because it signals that the speaker is “non-U” (i.e. not upper class British), which makes it amusing that she should presume to be pernickety about Ronny’s usage. (See, for instance: http://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/royally-speaking/)
yes, you’re right! The speaker is (American) young, coloured, illigitimate, a feminist, there is a hint that she might be lesbian. All this deliberately puts her outside the family.