Behind every great woman is a great story. Stories about women – their triumphs and victories, their failures, their thoughts and perspectives about the societies they live in, are important. Here are five feminist novels that everyone should read.
1. The Handmaids Tale
Written by Margaret Atwood, this novel takes place in a future dystopian society. Offred, the main character, lives in a world where men are superior, and women are stripped of their reproductive rights, are not allowed to work, read, or leave their homes. Offred is a handmaid, whose purpose is to provide a child for the Commander and his wife. Atwood, writes about themes of identity, femininity, and the manipulation of power. You can also check out the hit series on Hulu.
2. The Red Tent
The Red Tent is a retelling of the biblical story about Jacob, but through the perspectives of his wives,and in particular his only daughter, Dinah. This novel adds an interesting perspective, considering that most biblical stories, including the stories of Jacob and Joseph, are told through a man’s perspective. The Red Tent offers readers an inside look of how Jacob’s wives and his daughter came to be, and the importance of embracing, motherhood, womanhood, and sisterhood.
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
This is an autobiography about the early life of writer and poet, Maya Angelou. Angelou retells her experiences of her life in the American South where she experienced racism, bigotry, and poverty. The book also explores themes of sexual abuse, identity, and the African-American experience.
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns
Although this novel was written by a man, Khaled Hosseini, it is still a gripping and compelling story. The story takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan during the 20th and 21st century. The novel centers around two different women, living two separate lives, soon find their lives intertwined when they become married to the same man. Hosseini describes life in Afghanistan for women during the pivotal times of Afghanistan’s history.
5. The Awakening
You probably remember reading this novel in your AP Lit class. It was written in the late 1800s, by Kate Chopin but the themes are still relevant today. It tells the story of a woman living in 19th century New Orleans. She becomes frustrated by the pressures of society to, and goes on a journey of self-discovery and sexual liberation.