This post is part of a mini-series by I.C. on female characters, both heroes and villains. Find the rest of the series here and here.
Those Acro Collective readers who incline toward the bookish will agree with me that there’s nothing better than a complex heroine in whose struggles you can become invested. Victorian novels are particularly rich with such characters, coming as they do from an era in which women were beginning to call their society’s strict gender roles into question. Below are five heroines of Victorian fiction whom you’ve hopefully already met. (If not, do!). Based on which one you prefer, I’ve suggested other novels, either other Victorian novels or contemporary novels set in the Victorian era (or both), with similarly engaging female protagonists.
If you like Jane Eyre, from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847)… Continue reading “What to Read Next? Victorian Heroines Edition”
How do people usually talk about disability, and is this model of thought applicable to thinking about mental illness and depression? Writer S.T. takes us on a journey through her own experience, both experiencing mental illness and researching the subject.
My sophomore year of college, I went through the worst depressive episode of my life. Making it to class – not even participating, just getting myself there – was a victory. I could barely leave the apartment, and some days, I couldn’t even leave my room. Pulling out details is difficult – most of the year is still submerged in a thick fog – but I remember sleeping through a psychology exam in November. The next day, I went to see my professor, sobbing hysterically in her office as I tried to explain why I had slept through two alarms. Abstractly, I knew what depression was, but as I sat there under her unsympathetic gaze, I didn’t feel like I was suffering from an illness. I felt like I was just lazy, weak, a bad student. A failure. My professor was hesitant to give me a makeup test. Her anger felt physically painful to me, but it was a pain I felt certain I deserved.
Continue reading “What to Do About Depression: The Limits of the Social Model”
In recent months I have seen a specific article return repeatedly to my Facebook newsfeed: Esquire’s now rather infamous list of “80 Best Books Every Man Should Read”—a list full of macho (and occasionally misogynistic) novels by authors ranging from Ernest Hemingway to Charles Bukowski. Flannery O’Connor is the only woman author featured in the list (with her collection of short stories A Good Man is Hard to Find), a fact that rightly spurred indignation in feminist quarters. Flannery O’Connor was thus still very much on my mind as I spent this past Thanksgiving in Savannah, Georgia, her birthplace, an elegant Southern city with charming squares and venerable oak trees dripping with moss and mystery. While there, I visited O’Connor’s childhood home. I am a great admirer of her short stories, and O’Connor is widely considered one of the greatest American writers, as well as perhaps America’s greatest Christian writer. Touring the house in which she spent the first thirteen years of her life, I discovered some of the influences that shaped O’Connor’s work. But I also found my mind returning to that Esquire list, and thinking about the larger question it implied: which books by women will men read, and why?
Continue reading “The Women Writers Men Will Read”