I’ve been around strong women all my life – my mother, my wife, my fellow inner-city schoolteachers. Now I work in the library, and all my female colleagues boss me around. Nobody has to convince me that women are strong.
In literature, TV shows and movies, women, all too often, need rescuing. This has been changing, but it is still so in way too many cases.
I like novels with strong women in them. I’m not talking about weightlifters or machine gun molls, not that I want to offend females of that ilk. What I mean are women who tackle problems themselves or work alongside men, as equals, as opposed to waiting for men to help them. Here are some books that contain women who are strong and independent.
The Red Tent* by Anita Diamant This novel follows the biblical story relating the rape of Dinah and the subsequent revenge by her brothers. Following that event, Diamant has Dinah traveling to Egypt where she gives birth to a son, finds a new man and reconciles with her brother Joseph, now prime minister of Egypt. The Red Tent is the place to which women who are menstruating or giving birth are banished, and the place where women find mutual support and encouragement.
Divergent* by Veronica Roth Set in a near-future dystopian world, characters in this novel must leave their parents at age 16 and join one of five factions in which they will live the rest of their lives. Each faction strives to live by a single core value. To help them decide which to choose, youths take an aptitude test that almost always recommends one faction. In rare cases test results are inconclusive. This causes problems. Though classified as a teen book, it like Hunger Games, is suitable for adults as well.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, The Color Purple is a frequent target of sensors. The novel takes place in the 1930′s South and is told in the voice of a 14 year-old girl, Celie, whose father beats and rapes her on a regular basis. The girl is offered to a man, Mr. Johnson, in matrimony, resulting in a joyless marriage for her. Celie soon finds herself attracted to Mr. Johnson’s mistress.
Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed The 22 year-old author went on an eleven hundred mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to put her life back together after her mother died and her marriage was destroyed. Facing a variety of dangers and adventures, Strayed who had no previous backpacking experience, persevered on a journey that “maddened, strengthened and ultimately healed her”.
A Passage to India* by E. M. Forster Based on Forster’s experience in the British Raj, this novel takes place in the 1920′s. It concerns the strained relationship between the British colonists and the native Indians. Mrs. Moore, a visitor from England, wins the respect of the Indian residents by arranging social events that bring them together as equals with local British inhabitants. Later, an alleged incident brings accusations and charges are made by a British woman against an Indian man. During the trial, the Indian population place their faith on the testimony of Mrs. Moore. Don’t let it frighten you, A Passage to India is widely regarded as one of the top books of the 20th century.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe* by Fannie Flagg This novel explores the relationship between two women during the 1930′s depression and the friendship of two other women in the 1980′s. As if that is not enough, the abusive husband of one of the four women is murdered.
* I have read and enjoyed these books.
Marginally interesting tidbits:
It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
At every crossroads on the path that leads to the future, tradition has placed 10,000 men to guard the past.
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
Nostalgia is a seductive liar.
from a site on the internet whose url escapes me:
A young man, on the way to visit his girlfriend in northern Michigan was caught speeding through one of the small towns just a few miles from his destination. The officer sauntered up to the car as the young man fished for his license and registration. With the hint of a wry smile across his face, the officer placed both elbows on the window of the car so he could get real close and spoke in a deep voice, “Son, I’ve been waitin’ all day for you.”
”Sorry officer,” the young driver said. “I got here just as fast as I could.”
Having the Preacher for Dinner
In a small town way out in the country, a local farmer invited the new preacher and his wife to come out to the farm for supper. While the women were finishing preparations in the kitchen, the men talked in the living room. The farmer was in the middle of telling the preacher that because he was sure that most ministers liked chicken, that’s what he had asked his wife to prepare.
The farmer’s son, playing nearby, spoke up and said, “But I thought it was ‘buzzard’, not ‘chicken’ that we were eating today.”
“Of course not, where did you ever get that idea?” demanded the farmer.
“Well, I overheard you telling mommy that we ought to hurry up and have the ‘old buzzard’” for dinner and get it over with.”
“The only time a woman really succeeds in changing a man is when he’s a baby.” Natalie Wood
“When a man brings his wife flowers for no reason, there’s a reason.” Molly McGee
“Is there a cure for a broken heart? Only time can heal your broken heart, just as time can heal his broken arms and legs.” Miss Piggy
“I think…therefore, I’m single.” Lizz Winstead
“The trouble with women is that they get all excited about nothing…and then marry him! ” Cher
“I wouldn’t be caught dead marrying a woman old enough to be my wife.” Tony Curtis
“In my house I’m the boss, my wife is just the decision maker.” Woody Allen
“The secret of a successful marriage is not to be at home too much.” Colin Chapman
“I’m the only man in the world with a marriage licence made out to whom it may concern.” Mickey Rooney
“My computer dating bureau came up with a perfect gentleman. Still, I’ve got another three goes.” Sally Poplin