The Novels I Read For My Women and Violence in World Literature Class

As an English major, I’ve taken many literature classes and read numerous novels. This semester I am enrolled in a Women and Violence in World Literature class and I love it. I enjoy the discussions of feminism and how society perceives women to be gentle despite that being untrue. In the novels we’re required to read I repeatedly see strong female characters who use violence to protect themselves. Now that I’ve finished my last required reading, I wanted to reflect upon the themes of what I read.

  1. 1. Bitch Planet #1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro (Illustrator)

    Bitch Planet is a feminist comic book series with ten published issues so far. It takes place in a dystopian society where women are sent to an off-world prison if they are found non-compliant. Women can be sent to the prison, nicknamed “Bitch Planet” for many reasons: being too loud, sexual, queer, thin, fat, black, brown, and anything else that makes them undesirable in the eyes of men. Bitch Planet is a life sentence no matter how minor the infraction. The women on Bitch Planet are abused and harassed by the guards as they attempt to band together and stand up for themselves.

  2. 2. Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi

    This novel is a true story of a woman who has been cheated by her own society. Firdaus is in a Qanatir prison where she awaits her death for killing a pimp. Hours before she is executed, Firdaus tells her life story of growing up in a small village, childhood marriage, and being a city prostitute. The act of defiance against society and men costs Firdaus her life yet she welcomes it, viewing the execution as liberation from a harmful world.

  3. 3. Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

    If you love novels with tons of action, Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang is for you. In the 1950s, a group of high school girls in upstate New York form a gang to fight against the sexual harassment happening at school. The group is fiercely led by Legs Sadovsky, a beautiful and impulsive runaway who leads the rest of the group down a questionable path. Another member, Maddy, records all of the events of the gang for years as they head down a darker and violent path.

  4. 4. The Attack by Yasmina Khadra

    As a surgeon in Tel Aviv, Amin Jaafari is accustomed to the violence and hatred that fill the city. When a bombing at a local restaurant leaves many in critical condition, he has to work tirelessly to save as many people as possible. The bombing takes a personal turn as Amin learns his wife’s body was found among the dead with the injuries typical of a suicide bomber. It becomes abundantly clear that his wife, Sihem, was a fundamentalist suicide bomber, and Amin goes searching for answers. After years of loving a beautiful, intelligent, perfect woman, Amin is desperate to understand why she kept this secret hidden.

  5. 5. The Power by Naomi Alderman

    In The Power, one event changes the entire world. Young women have developed an immeasurable physical power that causes agonizing pain or death to those they touch. With this new development, the power dynamics around the world change completely. The Power follows multiple characters around the world as they accept and use their powers to their advantage in unique ways. The novel spans over years and follows the shifting and growing power of women