The Haven

May 11, 2012
By Anonymous

In the haven of my mind there lives a dragon, longing to be free from bodily harm, protected from knights in shining armor, the cat speaks and the witch does his bidding, and the hero dies. The recesses of my imagination flourish in a time where harsh reality resides. My sweet escape from the world lies in the words of other people, people I have never met and most likely never will. My dependence on the mystical fantasy of books is a benevolent addiction which allows me to forget myself and reinvent the characters I read about. This paradox of a healthy obsession is my secret vice. Everyone has one, be it malignant or benign. I swallow books in my haste to become distracted, sometimes quality does not matter, only the words, the words that march through my thoughts, that make chaos in my mind. When reading the different aspects of a story, I wonder why must everything and everyone fall into stereotypical molds of society’s claims to equality.

Books of damsels in distress reflect the still present double standard in modern society. I must question why the princess is the one who needs protection and in effect appears weak and helpless in the presence of any superficial man. Influential children thrive on the basic archetypes of the typical hero whose sole purpose in the story is to rescue a beautiful but inept woman from the clutches of evil. At an early age, girls begin to accept and even expect men to care for and guide them in all life decisions. Ultimately this creates a dependence on men that is very difficult to avoid in modern society. Every girl has the desire to be a princess, yet in order to dissipate the common double standard, all women attempt to be independent. Many male authors will write romanticized adventures of social customs, but with modern female authors there has developed an interesting feminist view in the material they publish. The character roles reverse and the female character is a strong influential character in the book.

Nicholas Sparks is a prime example of the monotonous repetition of an archaic plot line. The romantic novels he writes are feel good books; however, the books are also stereotypical man helping the powerless and emotionally distraught woman. Not a single one of his books varies from this story line, and he therefore accentuates what society expects from both males and females.

Feminine authors of modern day do not allow their female characters to become weak-kneed in the presence of a man, but instead reverse the roles and have the men need the woman’s help and support. For example, Tamora Pierce has multiple series of books told from the view point of a woman having the ability to conquer the same society that man lives in. Her books are a political statement of the conflicts women face when attempting to infiltrate an area of society only previously known to men. Although veiled by a title of fantasy, any reader can see the similarities between her books and the more men inclusive military opportunities. The effect of feminist literature can be seen in all aspects of my life. Although I was raised with the expectation of being reliant on gentlemen, feminist authors have influenced me to be independent and self-sufficient. A man will not always be present to offer assistance, and I have learned that men are not needed in every trivial situation.

These books with feminist viewpoints appeal to me the most because the books portray the truth and the potential for women to overcome societal standards. After all Harry Potter would be lost without Herminie Granger, and Shrek would not survive without Princess Fiona. As I delve into my imagination, the damsel saves the dragon and there are no white knights; there is no need. Women can create their own chances and their own success.

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