When I was young, I wrote. When we were about 6, my friend and I would sit at my blue Smurf picnic table in the family room of my house, armed with crayons. One of us would write the story and the other would illustrate it. When I was in first grade, my class had

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Henrick Ibsen A Doll’s House (Et Dukkehjem, written 1879) is better known than Ghosts (Gengangere, written 1881), and in my opinion, the former is also a more polished drama. Yet, when I think of one of these plays by Ibsen, I cannot but think of the other. I don’t remember which I read first, but

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Yesterday you were divorced. Today I am a widow. (page 1) So begins So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba (first published 1980, translated from the French by Modupé Bodé-Thomas), the personal (fictional) diary of the Senegalese woman Ramatoulaye, written as an extended letter to her best friend Aissatou, who has long lived in the

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The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta (1979) is about Nigerian tradition versus a modern and Western lifestyle, but it’s also about a woman coming to terms with her role as woman and a mother. I found myself viewing the main character, Nnu Ego, with conflicting emotions throughout the novel. From a modern, feminist perspective,

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Shakespeare’s King Lear captures family relationships (father to daughter, father to son, brother to brother, sister to sister) in an undeniable tragedy. Lear is betrayed by his two eldest daughters and Gloucester is betrayed by his eldest (and illegitimate) son. But although there is broken trust and mourning, there are also tender expressions of true

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