Paying Homage

Kate and I have had many discussions lately about the women who have gone before us. We have both read quite a few books that focus on historical situations where women are the main characters. I recently enjoyed the books These Is My Words and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

These Is My Words is about Sarah Prine who settled in the Arizona Territories in the late 1800's. It's a realistic view of every little detail that women faced at that time. Sarah, who is loosely based on the author's great-grandmother, is a hero to me. Some situations were too much to bear, as of course, I'd imagine my own reactions to each trial she faced. I don't know how she survived, even without the wild confrontations of floods, fire, rattlesnakes, death and rogue bandits.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan took place in 19th century China. Again, it's a realistic view of every little detail that women faced at that time. I had never heard of Chinese footbinding which is introduced in the first chapter of the book. I had never been educated on Chinese culture for women at that time - at all! This book was engaging, a major page turner for me. I felt detached from the characters, only because I couldn't relate to their lives at all. The freedoms I enjoy as a women in the United States, even if I were born in the 19th century far surpassed the freedoms those women were entitled to. Rank is seemingly all that mattered and being born female is basically a cursed life from the start. I found respect for a race of women I never knew before. Their discipline and life long training to serve their husbands and their husband's family was humbling.

Prior to these two books, I read The Book Theif which took place in Nazi Germany. Another book that taught me things I never knew. This book was from the perspective of the non-Jewish Germans who had much compassion for their Jewish neighbors (who were, as we know, persecuted so unceasingly, to death). An amazing tale about a little orphan girl named Liesel.

My point of this post is to, 1) encourage you to read the first two books listed here and, 2) encourage you to read THIS POST over on Kate's blog. When I read it, I was again humbled by the men and women who went before us.

My personal thanks to all of you modern day pioneer women! You teach me so much and I appreciate your friendship.


hillsmithfamily said...

Thank you for the book recommendations!

My grandmother frequently tells me stories about what was considered "proper" in her day and age, and it amazes me to hear some of the stories she has.

My grandfather used to tell us stories of why we should be grateful for all we have, as he was a WWII vet.

I'm grateful to live today, and to live where I do, as a woman.

Yvonne said...

I love to hear about books to read. I'll check those out. Thanks.

I am so grateful to live today. I so admire those who went before. (I will head over to Kate's blog)

Alice Wills Gold said...

you shoulg get on goodreads if you are not is a place to recommend books and keep track of what you are reading...i love it.

I will go to kate's blog.

thinking of pioneer women reminds me of a conversation I just had with lg's grandma....the topic...what did women do before feminine hygeine...have you ever thought about that?

Liam's Mom - Gina said...

Seriously, Alice, I think about it all the time. Especially after giving birth... those poor ladies.

And the dirty diapers? They must have stunk to high heaven... even when you clean them with good soap, it would still smell.

Terry said...

You've made me want to spend some time reading some quality books.

It reminds me of a documentary I saw about Susan B Anthony. I was amazed at how even here in the USA women did not have rights for a long time. Women, in fact, were the last group to get rights If a woman wanted to leave her husband she wasn't even allowed to take a suitcase, only the clothes on her back. She had NO rights to the children she bore and cared for. She had to leave all possessions and the kids. So its no wonder women always stayed. If their husband died, then her son or other male relative got the home. Sometimes women would be kicked out of their home when the male relative inherited the property. The Women's Suffrage movement was much more than getting the right to vote. I am so grateful to live post- the womens suffrage era.