The Impressive Narrative of the Contemporary Woman through Short Stories

TheImpressive Narrative of the Contemporary Woman through Short Stories

Readingthe literary texts reveals a lot about the journey women havetravelled to be where they are in different fields. The literaryworld is where they have excelled and proved their skills and acumen.It would be easy to conclude that women talk much about theirfeminist sentiments because books, essays, and many other literaryworks on gender issues capture the attention of many. On thecontrary, the contemporary woman author has her deserved space in theliterary world. “A modern woman is capable of constructing anargument using contemporary phenomenon of borders journeys and therealities of life to adjust her experiential and historical sense ofgender exclusion” (Palmer, 18). From the three readings, one has afeeling that they reflect the metamorphosis of women to become thecelebrated lots they have deservedly become. The best way tosubstantiate this claim is to analyze the way Ariel Levy and EmilyFox Gordon, and Peter Cameron came about the theme of women and theposition they earned in the society. The stories reflect theexperiences of a typical modern-woman whose story has been untold formany years. Indeed, it is agreeable that the contemporary woman issophisticated, engaged in aspects far from domestic and earned herplace society as an equal to men regardless of the myriad ofchallenges she goes through.

Thefeeling of loss that women experience when they miscarry is hardlyexplained. For a long time before great writers such as Ariel Levycame of age, people did not seem to understand this kind of loss.Comparing a miscarriage to the death of a child would soundoutrageous but that is exactly how women feel. Considering that thepainful experience of a miscarriage is a strange tale to most peoplein almost all cultures, there is no doubt that the courage that womenexhibit when it happens is something the world should know.Ironically, most cultures treat women who miscarry with contemptinstead of giving them the emotional support they need. Perhaps thesuppression is what makes them not to come out and talk about it.Until recently, it was uncalled and shameful for a woman to even saythey miscarried in the first place. Fortunately prolific writers suchas Ariel Levy have gone beyond the fear and the shame to tell it all.In her short story, “Thanksgiving in Mongolia”, she not onlytalks about her miscarriage, but also her experience duringpregnancy. The story sounds like a memoir, a travelogue, and anarrative of grief in equal measure. Her experience tells world thatwomen are a product of sheer struggle and hard work. It is amazing tolearn how millions of other women with similar experiences make it tojoin the list of women with great repute in many fields. Like ArielLevy many have risen to stamp a feminine authority in all aspects oflife.

“Womenhave to deal with the experiences of childbearing and balance themout with professional life” (Ezell34). Levy’s story is manifest of the challenges women have tocontend with during at work. They even play roles harder than men inthe same positions. Levy had to go to Mongolia regardless of hercondition. She was to report about the Mongolian impedingtransformation. The country was experiencing and economic upsurge dueits developing mining sector. She describes the supplies of coal,copper ore, gold, and many other minerals that were expected to causea double digit leap of the local economy. She also draws a sharpcontrast of the mineral fortune she set to report about with strikinglevels of poverty among Mongolia’s populations. At this point inthe story, one realizes that Levy is at her best. She defies thecommon notion that whenever female writers pick up a pen to write,the probably want to say something feminist. Here, Levy talks aboutminerals, the economy, and the livelihoods of people. She does notrush to tell the reader about her impeding miscarriage, but takestime to first the record about what her assignment in Mongolia. Thesophistication of the story lies in the way Levy convolutes the painshe goes through with her pregnancy and all that goes on during hertrip to Mongolia. First, she explains the developing story of painsin her abdomen, then she knots it up with interviews she does withpowerful people in government and an activist who had protested theact diverting water from poor nomads by a mining company. She is,indeed, a sophisticated writer. She wittingly lets the writer knowher ordeal while maintaining her resilience in the line duty. Levy’sexperience not only represents the typical contemporary woman butalso symbolizes the untold challenges that many like her go through.

EmilyFox Gordon’s short story, “At sixty-five”, is anothermasterpiece that embodies the sophistication of the modern woman. Onmost occasions, women would not about issues of age. “Women hardlytalk about their age unless they are compelled to so in formaloccasions” (Radway 59). Gordon breaks the rule and lets the readerknow how it feels to be aged or aging in the eyes of a woman. Thenarrative typically explains the physical and psychological changesthat women undergo as they age. The sophistication with which Gordonwrites her experience resolves some of the mysteries that young womenface as they contemplate aging. There are two major literary stylesthat Gordon uses to narrate the first person experience of aging:syntax and asyndeton. She uses syntax to explain the twopossibilities she expects about her future as an aging woman. Thefirst possibility that she expects about her future is in the lastparagraph where she names the kinds of diseases that are likely tobefall her. She says, “I could lose my sight, my colon, my husband,my hearing.” Asyndeton serves to show the reader the immense impactthat each of the two alternatives will have on her life. The secondpossibility she expects is where she will continue to “write, totravel, meet friends, take walks, drink, and talk to her husband”.This is a juxtaposition of Gordon’s first expectations. She alsohas flashbacks about her younger days by reminiscing she and herhusband looking at the animated version of the hostess of NewEngland. Undoubtedly, Gordon manages to juxtapose her younger daysand her older days in a manner that convinces a young female readerthat her experience is the typical experience for every woman. Thesophistication and the wit she displays tells much about the modernwoman who has the courage to tell it as it is rather than simplysweep it off everyone’s imagination.

Thesame sophistication is in Peter Cameron’s, “After the Flood”.Cameron uses the voice of a woman probably also in her sunset years.The story has many aspects that make a deviant of mainstream shortstory. First it has rambling sensation presented in a casual manner.The seriousness that couples with loss as a result of floods and acollapsed building is not in the tone of the story. Cameron also usesmany asides to tell a story, which revolves around the intrigues andcharacter of a woman Minister, Reverend Judy. Reverend Judyinfluences the accommodation of the Djukanovics. The Djukanovics area family displaced by destructive floods forcing them to seekaccommodation at the Minister’s home.

Inthe above three short stories, it is clear that the contemporarywoman is sophisticated and quite in charge of her destiny. The femalecharacters in the stories determine the plot and the eventualconclusion of the stories. They are evidence that a woman in thecontemporary world has the space to express some of the views thatthey deemed shameful to talk about in the past. They not only tellthe stories boldly, but with the sophistication that informs theirintellectual capabilities. As one cascades down to the finalparagraph, they get the subtle feeling that the contemporary womanmay not differ from the past woman in terms of everyday experiences.To whatever extent this seems arguable, there is still more to comefor the modern woman. The world is likely to see more of this levelof intricacy and intelligence in other fields just as it is in theliterary world.


Ezell,Margaret JM. Writingwomen`s literary history.JHU Press, 1996.

Palmer,Paulina. Contemporarywomen`s fiction: narrative practice and courage.Harvester Wheatsheaf. 2009

Radway,Janice A. Readingthe romance: Women, patriarchy, and popular literature.Univ of North Carolina Press, 2011.

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