Literary Criticism?

I got the news yesterday that the SHIPMENT of print books is now on the way. I have only two books left in the eBook group so I’ll be ready.

A couple of thoughts about what I’ve read. One thing is that many of the books written about women’s issues seem to convey the idea that being female is a pathology. Having been in both physically and psychologically abusive relationships my own self I totally get how easy it is for us to be victims of a messed up man. I also know the kinds of burdens foisted on the female by biology, and I know that in some societies women are ritualistically maimed. I also know how some Christian sects have taken St. Paul’s words about women at face value, a situation that might lead woman A to the Supreme Court, and another woman to a battered woman’s shelter. All this said, I don’t think any of it makes being female a kind of illness. Some of the books are written about getting out of abusive relationships. Personally, I don’t think too many books CAN be written about that, but they won’t all be good or useful. To help someone a book has to be readable and not directed toward a “niche.”

I don’t think I’ll live long enough to see the end of this perspective on being a woman, but I hope it fades away.

And animals. After owning upwards of 27 dogs I don’t think they live “for me” or to “save” me, yet most of the pet books take that tack. “A dog will save you.” “A horse will save you.” “A kitty will save you.”

Wait. Maybe being human is a pathology.

17 thoughts on “Literary Criticism?

  1. I never enjoy diving into someone else’s sense of victimhood. Details provided as background and context for one’s journey are good and necessary, but not the be-all. If the journey doesn’t arrive at enlightenment and empowerment, I’d rather not go along.

    I do, however, believe that nature – including the animals we call our pets or those we strive to support in the natural word – can “save us” from our worst impulses, make us better human beings. That’s a good thing, manifesting in a variety of individual ways.

  2. I agree Martha, the animals don’t live to save us, that is not their perspective, but I truly think that can be an offshoot of living with animals. I thank Ophelia every day this past year for getting me out of bed. Her motive was not about my misery at all, it was all about her needs, it just rubbed off on me. I think having to care for another (pet/human)gives us some meaning and maybe that is what “saves us”.

    • I think the same.

      Bear “saved” my life four years ago. I didn’t want hip surgery again. I truly thought, “I’d rather die than go through that again.” And then I looked at my puppy and thought, “If I don’t, what happens to Bear?” SHE didn’t save my life. But her being there and my not wanting to betray the trust of having adopted her, that saved me. It did not take me 300 pages to tell you that. ๐Ÿ˜€

      I think what a lot of these writers are trying to say is that loving an animal opened a world to them that they wouldn’t have known otherwise and that might (accidentally) have been their salvation.

  3. Interesting take – I’ve never thought about the pathology of being female… Now I can’t get that out of my head. The more I consider it the more often it seems to show up in literature. Seems humans have to be either the victor or the victim. As for pets, the trend now is to assign them “personhood” and they, by default, become victims or victors…. We live in crazy times with crazy people.

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