The Women's Room by Marilyn French - “Mira was hiding in the ladies' room. She called it that, even though someone had scratched out the word ladies' in the. The women's room by Marilyn French; 20 editions; First published in ; Subjects: Feminists, Fiction, Fiction in English, Middle aged women. The twenty-one-million copy bestseller-available again for a new generation of readers Originally published in , The Women's Room was.
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The mornings were bad. She hated to get up. Download book PDF · Women and Social Policy Chapter. Part of the Women in Society book series (WOSO) About this chapter. Cite this chapter as: French M. () The Women's Room. Editorial Reviews. Review. "An experience not to be missed." -San Francisco Chronicle The Women's Room - Kindle edition by Marilyn French. Download it . Register Free To Download Files | File Name: Unlimited Books Online The Womens Room Marilyn French Book PDF. READ UNLIMITED BOOKS ONLINE THE.
In the private world, no presentation of the ordinary life of ordinary people is likely to shock again in the way Marilyn French's novel, The Women's Room, did, that grim parable of the pain that attends the relations between women and men as they are worked out in marriage - specifically the "separate roles" marriage of the aspiring white middle class, in the couple of decades after the second world war.
There is unlikely to be another so grandly accusatory.
I read the book in Dublin; it was slipped to me like Samizdat to pass on as quickly as possible. I remember it had a homemade dustcover made from newspaper, from which I deduce it was a precious copy of the American edition and the year was So late! But then, feminist fiction took a long time to catch up with non-fiction, and even with literary criticism.
If fiction is the right word: this, the first and last international bestseller of the women's movement, is much more a cartoon than a true novel. It is essentially the Bildungsroman of a suburban wife in New Jersey during the s, narrated by an ageing woman alone on the coast of Maine as a grey summer turns to icy winter. Mira does her best to be a good and attractive girl and woman, but her first boyfriend sets her up to be gang-raped, and so she marries gentle Norman.
The narrator makes the characteristically embittered remark that there are easy ways to destroy a woman.
You can just marry her. Her pregnancy is awful, childbirth is harrowing, their sex life is dreadfully unsatisfactory for both husband and wife, the business of motherhood and running a house is boring and thankless and above all, in that culture where the home was "woman's work" and the outside world the property of men, lonely.
Yet, unpleasurable and undignified as Mira's life is, it pales into contentment compared with the lives of the other women in the young marrieds' housing estate.
The worst Norman does is mutate into a self-satisfied bully, but when Mira leaves the place - Norman, by now a rich doctor, having asked for a divorce so as to marry his mistress - the last friends she visits have been driven to the madhouse. And even locked up and anguished, they are being further harassed by various patriarchs. Eventually Mira gets into Harvard as a graduate student where her friends are a diverse group of anarchists, libertarians, peace activists, artists and scholars.
They dance and eat and study and talk and she herself falls absolutely in love and discovers the bliss of passion requited. But all this goes dreadfully wrong too, and in small ways and large the group encounters such rancid bigotries, entrenched in the power structure, that all the loves fail, and the strongest of the women - Mira's friend, Val - is driven to violent alienation.
Through this experience and several others with Lanny, Mira realizes she does not want to marry him because he would leave her at home, alone, scrubbing floors. Later, Mira marries Norm, a future doctor. Mira and Norm have two sons, Norm, Jr.
During the first few years of her marriage, Mira develops friendships with three neighborhood women: Natalie, Adele, and Bliss—all of whom are married with children.
The women begin to throw dinner parties in order to create fun evenings together that involve their husbands.
At the dinner parties there is flirtation among the different couples. Natalie begins to believe that her husband and Mira are having an affair, but Mira is able to dismiss Natalie's accusation, and their bonds survive until Mira discovers that Bliss and Natalie are having affairs with Adele's husband. The suspicion and actuality of affairs within the group results in irreversible damage to their friendships. Mira and Norm later move to the small town of Beau Reve, where Mira meets fellow married women with children: Lily, Samantha, and Martha.
During this time Mira's marriage becomes increasingly routine, and Mira finds herself at home, alone, scrubbing floors. Also while in Beau Reve, Mira witnesses her friends' struggles: Lily goes mad as a result of her son's rebellious behavior, Samantha is evicted after her husband loses his job and leaves her, and Martha takes a married lover who simultaneously gets his wife pregnant.
Through her friends, Mira begins to understand the unfair advantages enjoyed by men in relationships. After many years of marriage, Norm files for divorce it is hinted that he has been having an affair for some time and remarries, leaving Mira on her own. During this time, Mira, lost without her routine life of wifely duties, attempts to commit suicide.
She is found by Martha, who helps her pick herself up. Mira returns the help in due time when Martha, too, attempts suicide when trying to deal with her failed affair and resulting divorce.
It is the heyday of Women's Liberation and Mira, now too, finally able to verbalize her discontent at the society around her, becomes a feminist, although a less radical and militant one than Val.
It also includes Ben, a diplomat to the fictional African nation of Lianu, with whom Mira begins a relationship. Mira and Ben have a happy relationship, in which Mira is able to maintain a sense of independence.
Mira's development in the relationship contributes to her new unwillingness to live the life of a stereotypical housewife. When Mira's children come to visit her at Harvard, her growth and independence is revealed by a clear change in her views on the dichotomy between motherhood and sexuality.
While at college, Val's daughter, Chris, is raped. Following Chris' rape, Val states over Mira's protests , "Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relationships with men, in their relationships with women, all men are rapists , and that's all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.
Mira later ends her relationship with Ben, after realizing that he expects her to return to Lianu with him and bear his children. Soon afterward, she discovers that Val has been shot following a violent protest at the trial of a rape victim.
The book ends with a brief summary of where the characters are now. Ben married his secretary and now has two children. Mira is teaching at a small community college and is not dating anyone.
The ending is also a doubling back in which the narrator begins to write the story the reader has just read. The Women's Room received both praise and criticism. The novel was a New York Times bestseller the year it was released, Many women found The Women's Room relatable and stimulating; they were able to recognize their own lives in Mira's.