Rachel, the protagonist of the novel The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, is nine years old when she survives a fall from the ninth floor of a building in Chicago. Her siblings and her mother are not as lucky during the fall. Left with nowhere else to go, she moves in with her grandmother, who is a churchgoing woman. Rachel’s grandmother wants Rachel to value the respect and moral values that come with religion. Rachel’s grandmother views religion as the main source of morality and good values in society. She also sees religion as the only way to overcome the various challenges she faces in life. For this reason, she commits most of her time to singing in church. She thinks that having Rachel attend church service will help Rachel learn good morals and even forget her painful past.
Due to her religious nature, Rachel’s grandmother, Doris, castigates Rachel for engaging in premarital sex. She believes that religion will help her granddaughter realize the essence of morality and self-respect. This is further emphasized when Rachel’s grandmother forces her to change her hairstyle so as to look more respectable in church and less “like a pickaninny,” which is a racial slur for a black child. This shows that Rachel’s grandmother holds religion in high regard and that she wants Rachel to value religion and church as well.