Notes on my course(the grown–up bit!)
I’ve been wandering; why are most feminst literary pieces so disheartening?
I’ve just finished reading Frost in May, about book 6 of my assigned books this year, and again, although I greatly enjoyed parts of the book and bits of it were quite encouraging at the end all I felt was despair for the main character.
(Whether this had something to do with my being unable to find my seminar this afternoon and none of the 4 people I texted replying in time to help me I don’t know…but anyway…)
For one, none of these books really have an ending; they all end at the beginning of something new, either the protagonist is about to face a great change in her life (Frost) she’s just settled with her probable partner (Beloved) or she’s achieved…something…and now has to live on after it (summer before the dark, handmaids tale) and sometimes that something has come at a high price (Life and loves of a She-Devil) but she’s never totally happy. Oh sure, Ruth is satisfied with her re-constructed, diminuative body, her husband at her beck-and-call and her tower by the sea, but she makes you shudder! The sheer ingenious madness behind everything she has done chills a girl to the bone!
So far, the only writer I can identify as being affirming or at least vaguely, occassionally tongue-in-cheek positive to the end is Angela Carter. Yes, in the end of Atwood’s handmaid’s tale the protagonist is free, but free to go where? do what? is she ever going to find her daughter? Will Nick stick by her in the New World? And the fact it turns out that future observers think of those sufferings as an experiment!
At the end of Nights at the Circus, Carter has her protagonist fade, but become all the more real for it. Hardship which came with surviving the train crash rid her of her died hair and feathers (she has wings) but allowed her to come to the rescue of the man she loved and to see she didn’t need to exhibit herself to be worth anything. Problem is it’s so long ago that I read that one I can’t remember the end completely clearly! On the other hand I do know that another of her books ends with the woman, who was from the “civilised” society but abducted by the “heathens” forgetting her soft upbringing and when her partner, the ruling male died she took up his role, in the end saying she would become the “White tiger” (I think it was white…) and take over rather than be pushed away by the tribe, who most likely would not have supported her if she had collapsed on them in a wailing heap.
In conclusion; read Angela Carter; or Darren Shan, as he’s never going to depress!
Also, my decision to study “Opinions on language in modern society” has been ok’d by my tutor, so if you would like to express your opinions on the state of the English Language, spoken or written and whether or not it is your first language, I’ll be conducting interviews probably tuesday and wednesday of next week. I’m looking for a sample of about 12 people, interviews will vary in length but you might (probably) get a lolly!
Yay actually studying! _