Monday, March 5, 2012

Celebrating Women's History Month With Classic Women Authors

Lining the bookshelves of public libraries are several wonderful titles written by women. March is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishment of great women in history which includes a long list of heroines far and near. In literature there are many writers who have inspired their generation and generation of readers that followed. Their words are timeless and their characters are as real as our best friends. Many of the classic writers wrote during an era when women were not considered equal to men. Yet, in their books, the women writers wrote about strong, independent women. Contrast this to today's authors where some create women who are anything but strong or independent. This seems odd since women today enjoy more freedoms then their counterparts two hundred years ago. See if there is any agreement to the three authors listed below.

Jane Austen is the best example of a woman author who challenges cultural wisdom and introduces wonderful female characters who are bright, witty and memorable. Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice comes to the forefront of the long list of character. Austen is very careful to let everyone in on the cultural joke and in the end wins not only Mr. Darby's heart but the reader's as well.

Agatha Christie remarkable work changed the formula for rich crime stories that lure readers into reading one more page to find out "who done it". The unforgettable Miss Marple received attention not only for her ability to solve crimes but also from the stand point that she is not the typical detective. Old maids celebrated everywhere that there was finally a character that broke the mold for old maids. For once they were not meek, weepy and alone. Instead, Miss Marple demonstrates characteristics of an endearing, strong and inquisitive person. Who needs a husband when their is crimes to solve in the tiny village of St. Mary Meade.

One of he first example of Science fiction comes from a woman who dreamed about a scientist who created a monster. Mary Shelley's work Frankenstein opens readers to the world of science and the search for the meaning of life. Victor, the scientist who is the sorrowful creator, reveals to his friend Henry how he was able to recreate life and the consequences of his action. Shelley's tome delves into Victor's remorse for greedily looking for the power of life and at he same time explores the "humanity" of the monster who was crafted in a lab only to be shunned by his creator. This is unique point of view taps into the reader's sense of wonder for science and life.

Obviously these are only a few great women authors who changed literature for the better. Throughout the month of March there will be plenty of opportunities to explore others who not only introduced a new genre as Shelley did but also how they have added to the creative landscape of children and Young Adult literature. As the old saying goes, you ain't seen nothing yet.
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