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February 20, 2007

Gender and Literature, what some might refer to as a "sticky wicket"

Obviously, we've covered gender roles in literature, especially with the likes of "The Yellow Wallpaper." Generally, one can apply gender roles to most any literature, either canon or popular. The writings of Nick Hornby, which I love dearly, are enjoyable to all genders, but typically will resonate more with male readers. Hornby writes, mostly, about music, sports, women, relationships, and personality.

The majority of the people here have seen the film "High Fidelity." Hornby wrote the book, which was then adapted to film (in one of the best book-to-film transitions I've ever seen). I know lots of ladies who enjoyed the film; it was funny and was able to be without misogyny. Rather, it took a more critical approach of both sexes as equally flawed and equally perfect. It stands more with men, though, because the narrator is a man who has been spurned by many lovers, who are then ranked in a "top five all time break-up" list.

Kolodny's essay touched on something similar. She discussed Poe and the contemporary readers of "The Yellow Wallpaper" and claimed "Those fond of Poe could not easily transfer their sense of mental derangement to the mind of a comfortable middle-class wife and mother; and those for whom the woman in the was a familiar literary character were hard pressed to comprehend so extreme an anatomy of the psychic price she paid."

For those reading Poe, who was fairly overt in his approach to the macabre and morose, it was difficult to fully understand the transition of the woman in Gilman's work as she slowly slid from safety and security into chaos and a world unseen by many.

More on this as it develops.

Posted by KevinMcGinnis at February 20, 2007 12:24 AM


I did not agree with a majority of what Kolodny had to say, but I did agree with her take on Gilman and Poe. I think you show good insight into this as well.

Posted by: Dave Moio at February 21, 2007 9:59 PM

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