NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS ON SHOWALTER'S 'A JURY OF HER PEERS' CH. 17 through 20
Jury of Her Peers is a book that traces the development of women’s literature in the United States. These notes are taken from the book as part of the Diverse Women Writers course at Salt Lake Community College. The title of the book is taken from a short story that involves a wife killing her husband.
Ch. 17 The 1960s: Live or Die
A decade of change everywhere
Eloise Hinton – The Outsiders; Rumble Fish; Tex
Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird; friends with Truman Capote
Katharine Porter – Ship of Fools
Mary McCarthy – The Group; Cannibals and Missionaries
Joyce Carol Oates – lived in Detroit; A Garden of Earthly Delights
Anne Sexton reinvented herself in the 1960s.
Sylvia Plath – husband’s affair ended marriage; The Bell Jar; suicide
Ch. 18 The 1970s: The Will to Change
American feminism explodes.
Erica Jong – Fear of Flying
Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eye – fascinatingly written and twisted
Alice Walker had an abortion. “What is given should be forgotten by the giver for the sake of the recipient’s pride.”
Rape and its culture keeping women intimidated
You Can’t Keep a Good Woman Down addresses porn, rape and abortion
Judith Rossner – Looking for Mr. Goodbar
Diane Johnson – Loving Hands at Home; Mormon marriage satire
James Tiptree Jr. = Alice Sheldon – Once she was revealed as a woman, Sheldon had a hard time writing as a man and couldn’t reconcile the two halves. (Indian idea of men who are women and the Native American idea? Integrating the male and the female. This is another case where living in two worlds meant living in none.) Sheldon killed her husband and herself in a suicide pact.
Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking written to cope with deaths of husband and daughter
Ch. 19 The 1980s: On the Jury
Women learn to deal with violence as part of the American experience – detective novels
(All of the sudden my interest drops. I’ve read Dana Stabenow; it wasn’t great.)
Ursula Le Guin – She Unnames Them sounds like a reason that men and women do not understand each other.
Housekeeping – freedom = cutting community and family ties
Lorrie Moore – Self-Help
Vietnam, multiculturalism became topics
Amy Tan (See notes and observations on Tan's 'Last Week')
Louise Edrich – “Location is where we start.”
Alice Walker – The Color Purple
What if a black authoress was born into slavery? (Didn’t we have that example? Phillis Wheatley?)
Gloria Naylor – Westerns from a female perspective
(Does this essentially turn women into men? ‘Bad Girls’ with Mary Stuart Masterson…)
Ch. 20 The 1990s: Anything She Wants
Women are free to write as they wish, or they are free to write as dictated by the same pressures that dictate to men what to write.
Woman are 70 to 80 percent of the fiction readers and a majority of the non-fiction readers.
Poetry is in decline. (Do we need to say things in a more straight forward manner?)