Today I decided to reflect on some stories that have impacted my feminist views. They cross genres, include nonfiction and short fiction, and are otherwise badass.
- The Cider House Rules by John Irving
Starting off with one of my favorites, and a book lovingly shared with my by a friend. It’s definitely a pro-choice narrative, taking place prior to Roe v. Wade and safe/legal abortion access. The entire novel is great, I appreciate all of the characters for their imperfections and passions. I particularly admire Homer Wells.
- A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This was the first book I read off of this list, and at that point in time my favorite. I haven’t read it since high school, I enjoy dystopias, and the feminist nature of this tale was a part of my early feminist awakening. I hope to revisit it soon, but I’ve got a long long list. “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I fell in love with a passage from this book and I keep it in mind any time that there’s a change coming up in my life. Adulting/growing up with anxiety just gets worse with age, every decision is labored over, and it always seems like there’s a million options that all sound fantastic. I keep the crotch of the fig tree in mind, and I remember that Plath felt the same way.
- Gather Together in My Name by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou will undoubtedly show up in every post this week. She’s my favorite. I’m not sorry. On to the story; I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. It was my second Angelou memoir, and I enjoyed her candor about some of her choices through the years. I loved getting to know her better, and being able to learn more about such an icon that had made decisions that others might not approve of. Her interaction with the sex work industry, her other dealings that some public figures might have left out, etc. were discussed. Honesty is an absolute necessity.
- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
I did a really interesting project on this book as a sophomore in high school. We read it in Advanced Literature (one of my favorite classes) and were asked to draw our own representation of the wallpaper. I dug into this story, swimming in the stripes of that wallpaper and in Gilman’s storytelling. I’d had little experience with writings about mental health, postpartum depression, and other intensely feminist issues. Link to full text here.
I’ll revisit these as I find time, most likely not in the immediate future. I do hope to revisit the Atwood text sometime this year, and Gilman’s story for a concept piece sometime soon.
Side note: I’m having a busy, busy week and dealing with some family things as of right now. I’ve got an awesome weekend lined up, so I’m pleased about that. I’ll be back Friday with my review of All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes.