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First, Katherine's horror, her aversion to what she sees, undercuts the realism that L'Engle seems to be striving for in much of the novel. Are we actually expected to believe that Katherine, who has spent much of her childhood in concert halls and backstage at theaters, has never encountered lesbians before? And if we accept that Katherine's response is unrealistic, how do we account for L'Engle's breakdown in characterization?
The answer to this question is evident once we contextualize The Small Rain. L'Engle depicts lesbianism as pathological because it confuses Katherine's notions of gender. Note, for example, that in the above passage "Sighing Susan" is three times referred to as "it" and twice as "that creature.
Susan has "despairing eyes" and Katherine, who feels physically marked by Susan's gaze, feels compelled to retreat to the "clean air. Limited and facile as L'Engle's depiction might be, it needs to be viewed as part of a literary tradition -- one that can be traced back to Radclyffe Hall and which was alive and well, not only in mainstream literature but in lesbian as well as, for example, in Ann Bannon's novels from the s. We should not be surprised then that L'Engle, who in general seems drawn to young female characters who suffer from their status as outsiders, drew in her first novel upon literary stereotypes.
Though not as blatantly homophobic as The Small Rain , this later novel still treats homosexuality as a tragic state. The lesbian characters, Max and Ursula, a couple of long standing, are sympathetic, but their lives are depicted in such a way that the prevailing message is that homosexuality is a tragic state for those who are, and a threatening one for those who are exposed to it. L'Engle is only one author among many who are reluctant to use their fiction as a tool to explore adolescent homosexuality in a non-judgmental way.
Cuseo believes this reluctance stems from an author's awareness that the desires of adolescent readers, publishers, and educators are often in conflict with one another.
Publishers often seem motivated by the desire to maximize their profits, and librarians are often restricted by limited acquisitions budgets. Neither of these factors work to support, much less create, an environment in which much literature will be produced that explores homosexuality for adolescents in any meaningful way.
Still, the decade beginning with the mids and running to the mids saw the publication of a second category of novels, ones in which the representation of adolescent homosexuality became increasingly complex and decreasingly moralistic. In , Rosa Guy published Ruby , a significant work for a number of reasons. First, it focuses on the lesbian relationship of two young women of color, one of very few novels to do so. Second, though the relationship between the two girls ultimately ends unhappily, the sexual aspect of their relationship is neither hidden nor accompanied by guilt.
And though the relationship does end, it leaves the main character, Ruby, with a renewed sense of self-worth. Sexual identity as something to be explored and come to grips with is a prominent theme in novels in this second category. First, both were published initially in hardback and by a major press -- ironically by the same press responsible for reissuing The Small Rain. Second, the novels are very clearly lesbian novels.
Garden's Annie on My Mind very clearly meets Zimmerman's criteria and just as clearly is written for an adolescent audience. The novel opens with its narrator, Liza Winthrop, a freshman at MIT, in a state of emotional paralysis, haunted by her past and undecided about her future. Her confusion stems from the events of her senior year in high school, the year she met the Annie of the title.
The first chapter makes clear that Liza must come to some understanding of the past if she is to have any kind of future. Her inability or unwillingness to understand what she has experienced with Annie, and to draw conclusions from it, has left her incapable of doing the academic work she professes to love, i.
Liza's dilemma is clear: in order to develop one component of her identity, she needs to resolve her conflicts about another. Her struggles to understand and accept herself as a lesbian are embodied in her attempts to write a letter to her friend and lover, Annie Kenyon. As she struggles to write a letter and to understand why the writing is so difficult, Liza reviews the events of the past year, including her meeting, falling in love with, and finally being separated from Annie.
Annie on My Mind is a classic coming-out novel and as such is thematically concerned with issues of identity and role. Settings are of great importance in this novel of discovery because they are so thematically aligned with different facets of the girls' relationship. Liza and Annie's first two meetings take place in settings that contain both the past and present and the possibility of easy shifts from fantasy to reality. Liza meets Annie at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and initially mistakes her for an early American colonial girl.
Their early exchanges are characterized by lapses into worlds of fantasy and pretense.
During their first meeting they engage in mock joustings in the Medieval Hall at the Met. Their second meeting, at the Cloisters, begins with their playing at Knight and Lady. Liza is initially embarrassed by Annie's predilection for play-acting but learns to enjoy it, because it offers her an opportunity to try on other identities and escape from her everyday world, one she describes as " Annie and Liza's play-acting has thematic repercussions. It allows the girls space in which to explore their attraction for one another while introducing one of the main challenges they will face as lovers: how to create a space for themselves in a world hostile to their relationship.
Though their play-acting creates a space for them, a sanctuary as it were, both girls come to recognize that it can function only as a temporary retreat. Liza realizes that an important shift has occurred in their relationship when she and Annie talk "no pretending this time, no medieval improvisations, just us" p.
Soon after Liza comes to this realization, Annie, too, recognizes that the pleasures of the fantasy world she so ably creates are only temporary. Riding the ferry to Staten Island, she begins an improvisation only to draw back:. Maidens and knights. Staring at noses, even.movablestyle.com/lexe-where-to.php
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I don't want to pretend anymore. You make me want to be real. To be real. The rest of Annie on My Mind examines what reality is for two young women coming to grips with their sexuality and trying to find models around which to structure their lives. Allan Cuseo's study ends with and Nancy Garden's novel was published in -- a year which is considered by some to have been the peak year for publishing of young adult novels dealing with homosexuality.
When I finished reading both works, I reasoned that in the wake of multiculturalism, with its emphasis on diversity in the curriculum, both the treatment of and market for young adult fiction dealing with homosexual themes, issues, and characters might have opened up.
My self-imposed task while there was to find out from publisher's representatives what, if any, titles they had forthcoming dealing with adolescent homosexuality. By the end of two days I had acquired only six titles but did have the dubious pleasure of having embarrassed a variety of publisher's representatives simply by asking my questions. More often than not my queries were met with averted eyes and lowered voices. One representative assured me that her company was seriously interested in AIDS education, but, no, they had no titles available at this time and none planned for the near future.
Another representative told me that this was an area that needed to be explored, but again his company had no titles to offer. I snapped it up, grateful as much for a title albeit a one as to have someone look me directly in the eyes. Unfortunately, of the titles I found, only The Arizona Kid by Ron Kortege contains a major character who is gay, and this character is the main character's uncle. The other novels fit into what I consider a third category, one which, I think, today dominates the market. In this category, gay characters and gay issues are often depicted sympathetically.
In Marilyn Levy's Rumors and Whispers , for example, the protagonist, Sarah Alexander, has to work through a series of conflicts, ranging from being the new girl in her school to having a teacher with AIDS to having a brother who disrupts her family's fragile peace with the announcement that he is gay. This brother, beset with his own difficulties, still helps Sarah work through her various problems. In Jesse Maguire's Getting It Right , the reader encounters a group of teenagers trying to accept the homosexuality of one of their peers. And in Jacqueline Woodson's The Dear One , the protagonist, an upper-middle-class young African-American girl, is nurtured by two friends of her mother, a lesbian couple of long standing.
Though the positive presentation of homosexual characters and themes in novels for young adults might be viewed as a progress of sorts, it is important to note that in all the above novels the homosexual characters are very much off center stage.
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As a consequence, the presence of homosexual characters and the issues associated with their lives are of secondary concern in these novels. The implications of this positioning for young gay readers are twofold. First, they learn from reading these books that their issues and concerns are only of secondary importance. And second, they learn what it means to the teenager who is struggling with that identity primarily from the perspective of a heterosexual. Hunt - Papers, ongoing 18 linear ft.
Papers document Mary E. Hunt's career as a feminist theologian. Included are published and unpublished writings and lectures; audiovisual materials featuring Hunt; files on conferences and events she attended, and her travels. There is some biographical information, as well as a small amount of material documenting the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual founded in by Hunt and her partner, Diann L.
Kady Papers, The papers contain a small amount of biographical information, drawings by Kady, articles, clippings, memorial invitations to "KadyFest", eulogy, her book Panhandling Papers , and an oral history. Joan Laird Papers, ongoing 1. Papers consist of published books and journal articles.
Anne MacKay - Papers, ongoing. Isabel Miller Papers, 37 linear ft.
The papers include diaries beginning when she was in her early teens , correspondence offering rich documentation of her personal life, from her years as a member of WAVES during World War II and as wife and mother of four daughters in a traditional heterosexual marriage, to her coming out as a lesbian and her life thereafter. Research and manuscript materials document the evolution of her profession as an author of lesbian fiction, the best known of which is Patience and Sarah.
The collection also offers a personal record of the lesbian communities of New York City and the mid-Hudson Valley region, from the s to 90s and includes transcripts of a lesbian consciousness raising group, extensive personal correspondence, and documentation of Miller's spiritual interests, including her numerous astrological charts of women. Marjory Nelson - Papers, ongoing 5. The Papers consist of a wide range of materials documenting the progression of her life, from faculty wife in a traditional marriage to graduate student, lesbian activist, radical feminist, hypnotherapist, and pacifist.
Her activities in the feminist movement are richly documented, from its beginnings in the s to the present. There are also correspondence, photographs and other materials representative of Nelson's personal life. Diann L. Neu - Papers, ongoing 5. Papers document Neu's education in theology; her work and activism re: articulating and advocating radical new forms of feminist theology, and in re-defining the role of women in the church; her participation in numerous conferences about women in the church; and materials pertaining to her two books, Return Blessings: Ecofeminist Blessings Renewing the Earth and Women's Rites: Feminist Liturgies for Life's Journeys Types of material include correspondence, interviews, lecture notes, minutes, sermons, speeches, transcripts, writings, slides, and audiovisual material.
Kathleen O'Shea - Papers, 6 linear ft. Papers include documents and memorabilia from O'Shea's childhood, including her education to become a member of a religious order; correspondence; photographs; and a small amount of materials pertaining to lesbian former nuns. Also included is research related to O'Shea's writings on women on death row with files on sixty-five women prisoners, including correspondence from some, and video recordings about women in prison, including Aileen Wuornos. Judith Plaskow - Papers, ongoing. Her scholarly interests focus on contemporary religious thought with a specialization in Jewish feminist theology.
Plaskow has written several significant books in the field, including the first full-length Jewish feminist theology, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. The papers include published and unpublished writings, lectures, and related correspondence. Ellen Shumsky - Papers, ongoing. Small number of writings about lesbian and feminist issues by Shumsky and others; fliers; minutes of meetings of Radical Lesbians NYC ; other printed materials; photographs photocopies ; and seven issues of the newspaper, Come Out.