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Buddy Reads > The Odd Women Chapters XI-XVI

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message 1: by Kristen (last edited Jul 21, 2011 03:26PM) (new)

Kristen | 66 comments Wow! I am struck by the radical feminism of Ms. Barfoot and Ms. Nunn. I found chapter 13 to be very fascinating. We learn more about both women's differing views. I thought their argument regarding the young woman who commits suicide and the way it was resolved intriguing. Ms. Barfoot gives quite the stirring radical speech at the end of this chapter, after which she tells Rhoda it was addressed to her. This was her way of making amends. She wants to remind Rhoda of her strong convictions regarding their cause.

message 2: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 66 comments The way that they make up in the end actually reminded me of a couple. Ms. Barfoot and Ms. Nunn here seem to make a couple. Whether Everard successfully "makes love" to Ms. Nunn I suppose will have an effect on their relationship and their cause. It will be interesting to see how things play out.

Elizabeth (Alaska) Kristen, I saw so much in these chapters that was familiar - familiar in that they were essentially the same arguments being made in the US in the early 1970s in what was then called the Womens Revolution.

They will tell you that, in entering the commercial world, you not only unsex yourselves, but do a grievous wrong to the numberless men struggling hard for bare sustenance. You reduce salaries, you press into an already overcrowded field, you injure even your own sex by making it impossible for men to marry, who, if they earned enough, would be supporting a wife.


Whether woman is the equal of man I neither know nor care. We are not his equal in size, in weight, in muscle, and, for all I can say, we may have less power of brain. [this wasn't said in the 1970s!] That has nothing to do with it. Enough for us to know that our natural growth has been stunted. The mass of women have always been paltry creatures, and their paltriness has proved a curse to men. So, if you like to put it in this way, we are working for the advantage of men as well as for our own.

Here we were, 80 years after this was written, fighting the same fight - for the right to work in fields that had been traditionally male. This book must have either had quite a reaction, or else it was carefully hidden away. Maybe hidden away because we certainly weren't reading it in school.

Elizabeth (Alaska) And I thought this reference to Miss Wheatley, Mr. Mickelthaite's fiance, most telling about what happened to those Odd Women, as she surely would have become:

At three-and-twenty she had possessed a sweet, simple comeliness on which any man's eye would have rested with pleasure; at forty she was wrinkled, hollow-cheeked, sallow, indelible weariness stamped upon her brow and lips. She looked much older than Mary Barfoot, though they were just of an age. And all this for want of a little money. The life of a pure, gentle, tender-hearted woman worn away in hopeless longing and in hard struggle for daily bread.

Elizabeth (Alaska) Lastly, I foresee much trouble in the Widdowson household. Everard is a traditionalist through and through, while Monica has listened to the Misses Barfoot and Nunn, moving more toward their ideas than sticking with the more traditional ones.

Everard is speaking to Monica: If a woman can neither have a home of her own, nor find occupation in any one else's she is deeply to be pitied; her life is bound to be unhappy. I sincerely believe that an educated woman had better become a domestic servant than try to imitate the life of a man.

But of Monica, in the very next paragraph: Monica seemed to listen attentively, but before long she accustomed herself to wear this look whilst in truth she was thinking her own thoughts. And as often as not they were of a nature little suspected by her prosing companion.

Ah, Monica, what will become of you?!

message 6: by Kristen (new)

Kristen | 66 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Kristen, I saw so much in these chapters that was familiar - familiar in that they were essentially the same arguments being made in the US in the early 1970s in what was then called the Womens Rev..."

I thought the same thing. So much in this novel is still relevant.

message 7: by Janice (JG) (new)

Janice (JG) I don't think I've ever read a book quite like this one, either for its time, or, for that matter, for today. It amazes me that it was written by a man.

I really have no idea what is going to happen (tho' I do foresee a tangled web for Dunn and Cousin Edvarard), and that alone keeps me entertained.

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