Throughout the movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe we have been introduced to every theme from sacrifice, racism, to death. These three themes, plus many others, have shaped the book and movie to the phenomenon that they have become together. Mainly following four women, the book travels through decades of hardship, friendship, and independence. Evelyn Couch unexpectedly is immersed into the story of Whistle Stop, Alabama after meeting Ninny Threadgoode, and soon starts to feel as a citizen of Whistle Stop back in the early 1900’s, and embraces the free-spiritedness of both Ruth and Idgie, and altering her outlook on life.
The relationship between Ruth and Idgie is based on more then just friendship when a deep romance emerges between the two. Their strong bond went back to when Idgie was just young, and Ruth dated Idgie’s older brother Buddy. After his tragic death Idgie became a runaway, for she no longer had Buddy or Ruth. At an early age, Idgie falls in love when Ruth comes back to Whistle Stop, but this love between the two is abruptly sent to a halt when Ruth announces she is leaving to go back home to marry Frank Bennett.
Sacrifices were made on both sides of this anomalous relationship between the women, playing a huge part in the theme of this book. Idgie sacrificed herself as a whole, and gave up part of her own life she could of lived differently if she didn’t hang onto something she truly believed in. Once Ruth called Idgie her “Bee Charmer”, Idgie was hooked onto her irregular love with Ruth. Since Ruth left her for Frank Bennett, to when Idgie took Ruth back to Whistle Stop after hearing of Ruth being abused, to the day Ruth died, Idgie sacrificed anything and everything for this women.
She didn’t care if what she was doing was against the social and religious idealism, as long as she was truly happy, she didn’t care what others thought of her or the way she has decided to live her life. Ruth was very similar to Idgie, sacrificing herself, just not in the same manner. Deep down, Ruth knew that there was love for Idgie that she could not deny and would never be able to lose. When Ruth left Idgie to go marry Frank Bennett, she sacrificed more then anyone else.
She left the women she knew she truly loved because her morals and beliefs crossed paths with her feelings and took over. In religion, engaging in this relationship would be everything but right, and this is all that went through Ruth’s mind, and she proceeded with her marriage to Frank. Although her true sacrifice was when the innocent Ruth Jamison left her abusive husband to return to Whistle Stop with Idgie. She gave up everything she has ever stood for in her life for the one thing she knew was meant to be.
It was very evident that racism played a huge part in this story. It was shown over and over again, chapter after chapter of the discrimination of colored people. When Big George and Idgie were arrested for the murder of Frank Bennett, Idgie had all the time in the world in the court room to take stand and defend herself, while her colored man George wasn’t to speak a word. Aside from this, Ruth’s husband was an abusive KKK member, along with many other men who despised people of a different color.
Colored people weren’t aloud to be in the same building as others, unless they were working for the rich white man. Today we see this as a tragedy and a horrible event, as many people in this day and age collaborate with colored people on a daily basis, and are treated very much the same as everyone else. Although when this book was written, it was the early 1900’s in southern Alabama, posing as a very different time in our world.
Many themes are expressed throughout Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, and many are articulated through even one example. With Ruth and Idgie’s situation, they are both showing courage, sacrifice, and love, which pose as huge themes in this book. It is always said to never judge a book by its cover, and nothing is more true with this book. Lesbianism is showcased as the main theme the majority of the time, but if you really take the time to read this unique novel, you will see everything that is so great that lies within the pages.