The theme of childhood often arises in the book, and these memories are harsh for Lucy. As a kid, she has felt the strain of the British system and its attempts to supplant her native culture. Lucy remembers being forced to sing and learn poems that neglected her values. She recalls these events bitterly and tries to reveal her personality and free rein to her feelings and desires.
Ethnocentrism is inherent throughout the novel, as Lucy evaluates all events through the prism of the experience of her ethnic group. For example, when traveling by train, she notices that the passengers are primarily white, while black people provide the service. It immediately reminds her of slavery and confirms the discrimination that has constantly haunted her in her homeland. However, Mariah does not notice this because her views and perceptions are entirely dissimilar, and the woman remains committed to her ethnocentrism.
One of the most notable themes that the work reveals is sexuality and Lucy’s attitude toward it. It was bizarre to have several partners in the times when the novel was created. Nevertheless, the struggle for women’s liberation and the sexual revolution was already beginning, so women like Mariah started to talk about their extramarital experiences.
Lucy speaks about the number of sexual partners freely, but unlike Mariah, her openness about sexuality is not due to a social movement or a transformation in cultural standards. Instead, it is a challenge and resistance to the constraints of her mother, who considers virginity a significant element of a woman’s reputation.