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Mirroring Feminism

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    Mirroring Feminism

    ( Lilith’s Brood, She Un-names Them, and Bear )

    Writing can be an empowering voice for women. The emergence of feminist literary criticism is one of the major developments in the field of literary studies. Even though, feminism itself has many categories and definitions since, feminists disagree about what sexism is consists of, and what is exactly the right movement towards it; they disagree about the essence of being a woman or of what ever gender you belong to and what social and political implications gender has or should have. Feminist literary criticism is a theoretical issue due to the existence of new movement’s advocating a different perspective in feminism.

    However, on my paper, I would like to define feminism as the belief that our social world is structured by gender. We have the female and the male species. It is the belief that women suffer certain injustices simply because they are women. However, I want to set free from this belief and show how female specie use their femininity for her advantage or in order to liberate herself. Feminism relies on the belief that being female or woman to a great extent determines one’s life.

    In this paper we will analyze three literary pieces with Feminist perspective. The first literary piece is Olivia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood. It is a collection of three novels: Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago. It is about Lilith Lypo, a girl who lives in a remote part of Andes Mountain during the World War III and her genetically modified children. In the story, she is mourning because of the death of her husband and child. After the horrendous even, she was unconscious.

    As she awakens, she finds herself trapped together with other surviving humans in a time where the Earth had repaired itself from the damages brought be human beings, such as missile wars. The new world is bound with peculiar-looking and seemingly hostile beings. She was kept in suspended animation for a long time. They were abducted by the Oankali, extraterrestrials that have a third gender, the ooloi. The ooloi have the ability to manipulate genetics and sexually seductive neutral-stimulating and consciousness-sharing powers. And they wanted the remaining survivors to be their genetic trading partners.

    In here, Lilith is placed in greater predicament. She was offered the opportunity to be the first new human being. They wanted her integrate into their society and awaken other humans and teach them how to live in the new earth. I view this particular part of the novel as a indication of the fact that the female specie, compared to the male, or even the third sex in relation to the novel, is destined to receive the gift and responsibility of ensuring that the human race will continue to proliferate.

    The novel shows a world re-imagined after a war. It is a profoundly evocative, sensual, and disturbing epic of human transformation. The views of the author were presented by using the viewpoints of the main characters. It shows both the evil and the good side; both the seducers and the compassionate protector in one character. So, the world shown here is a world beyond good and evil wherein the choices are tough. It is hard to choose between the side of preserving the humankind no matter what the cost or  the future of humanity.

    Having Lilith, a female human being, pioneer the human race shows an interpretation or a judgment of the origin of human beings beginning from female specie. This is like a symbolism of the Earth being the “ mother “ earth or a female, that cradles human race through civilizations. It goes to show that, in the future, drastic change may occur however, it is still the female sex who will cradle human race.

    The second literary text that contains feminist perspective is She Unnames Them by Ursula La Guin. It is a short story that narrates what happened when a group of yak or certain specie wants to be un-named. It expresses how names serve as barriers between creatures around her. And how un-naming a creature breaks that barrier. As she mentioned “ONE were left now to unname, and yet how close I felt to them when I saw one of them swim or fly or trot or crawl across my way or over my skin, or stalk me in the night, or go along beside me for a while in the day. They seemed far closer than when their names had stood between myself and them like a clear barrier: so close that my fear of them and their fear of me became one same fear. “

    The short story also gives us the notion that there are cases wherein we have to conceal our real names in order to protect ourselves.

    In the story Eve is the one in control,  but instead of naming them, she un-names the animals in the Garden of Eden. Man was the one who named the animals, however, this act of Eve un-naming the animals is in a way a form of reclaiming the power of language.

                It also shows the typical status the female gender is put into in terms of the husband and wife relationship. Wherein the wife will approach the husband and the husband is too busy to notice her and that the husband, is only asking about the dinner. But in here, Eve managed to stand-up and waved his husband goodbye with a wish that the garden key turns up.

                The last literary piece is the novel Bear by Marian Engle. It is about Lou who went to a remote Island in Northern Ontario to catalogue a 19th Century Library. As she stayed there, she encounters an aging black bear that used to be the pet of the Island’s Institute benefactor. But what caught my attention is the part in the novel that narrates Lou’s sexual relationship with the Bear. Though I find it a bit absurd, viewing it in a feminist perspective, we can say that this sexual interaction is a way of her liberation over the used to be tame and meek girl. Also it unleash away from the boxed notion that female is born for male specie. And that the dominant male race dictates the happiness of the female in terms of sexuality.

    The three literary pieces shows three different females with different personalities.  For Lilith’s Brood, we have character of Lilith is a strong manifestation of feminist liberation. Although, to show her human side, she commits mistakes that even lead her into great trouble. She was placed in a situation where the only choices are brutal and there are no other better options. She was trapped between moral dilemmas and severe existential challenges. But still, her extremely strong character stands out. And she managed to cope up the challenges.

                For She Unnames Them, the protagonist is Eve, a character based on the Bible. However, the Eve here is different. The Eve here is inquisitive and aware of the things that are happening around her. She is strong willed that she knows how to say no or oppose to the things that she disagreed with. And compared to the Eve that is based on the bible, instead of being the reason why Adam and her were both banished from the paradise, she, going out of that place is her own decision. And instead of being condemn as a sinner, she was adored by un-naming the animals and making them elevate themselves.

                Lastly, for the Bears, we have the Heroin, Lou is at first very solitary and unsociable. Until one time, she receives a large and unusual offer from a descendent of a known military family to work as an archivist in their old library. Since Lou is very much into stuff like this that she even spends five years doing such job, she accepted the offer.

                In here, though the main character reflects the trait of being remote and unsociable, she shows braveness as she accepted that offer though the only means of going to that library is via water.

                Also, her sexual affairs shows feminist liberation through sexuality. It reflects a pro-sex feminism perspective with a main idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom. Pro-sex feminists reject the criticism of male sexuality that they attribute to many radical feminists, and instead embrace the entire range of human sexuality. They argue that the patriarchy limits sexual expression and are in favor of giving people of all genders more sexual opportunities, rather than restricting.

    Both literary pieces, Lilith’s Brood and She Unnames Them narrate a portion that is based on the bible. The third part of the novel Lilith’s Brood resembles the story and characters in the bible. We have Jodas who resembles Judas in the bible. However, in the story, instead of being a male, he is metamorphosing into an ooloi or the third sex. Also, instead of committing suicide, in the novel, he must be exiled to the ship to make sure that he doesn’t destroy anything or anyone on Earth. And ironically, it resembles Jesus since he does cure sick people and its body transform into whatever pleases the human most. And instead of the humans regarding him as a traitor, he is stable when it is around humans. And in many other ways, he resembles a savior.

    There are also other characters in the bible that the author, Butler placed in quirk of faith. We have Tomas, whose name is obviously based from Thomas the Doubter. But in here, it isn’t Tomas who doubts his place with Jodas. There is also the character of Jesusa, the name of whom bear a resemblance to Jesus, who is a woman of very little faith and peace.

                Jodas’ character both posses the savior and traitor aspect. He betrayed Tomas and Jesusa when he didn’t inform that that they wont be able to leave him if they stay with him until the second metamorphosis. However, another incongruity here is that Tomas and Jesusa are the true betrayers. They took Jodahs and Asor to the mountain community of fertile humans knowing that the Oankali will soon follow.

    Just like Lilith’s Brood, there is also a portion in the story that is based on the bible particularly, the story in Genesis about Adam and Eve. However, there are some deviations. In this portion, a strong feminist point of view is revealed.

    The point of view of the story is taken from Eve. And basing it from the bible, it was the Creator and Adam who named the creations. As stated in the story, “You and your father lent me this—gave it to me, actually. It’s been really useful, but it doesn’t exactly seem to fit very well lately. But thanks very much! It’s really been very useful.”

                Although the three have their own interpretation of what feminism is. And they have different views on how women were oppressed.  What are more evident are their differences in the views on how to liberate femininity. For Lilith’s Brood, it is expressed on her will and endurance over all the obstacles she is face with. Living all alone in a new world with strange creatures without a husband on her side. Also it emphasized greatly on her power over cradling the human race. For She Unnames Them, expressed on how Eve serves as the key towards the freedom of the other creatures from the barriers created by men.  And for Bears, it expressed on sexual liberation. That a woman needs not male specie to achieve sexual pedestal. All the three have the same goals, which is to liberate the female race and to express their importance.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Mirroring Feminism. (2017, Jan 07). Retrieved from

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