Essays In Criticism

Essays In Criticism-17
She’s talking about the persistent idea that a woman’s life can be morally dictated, and I’ve never been one for slogans, but I would readily get that sentence tattooed.What this dictation comes down to is biology, more or less, and what Solnit expresses with her gorgeously discreet sense of logic here is that there is simply no great way to get around the fact that (1) female bodies are seen as service objects and (2) female lives are seen as revolving around childbirth (which is of course the greatest bodily service of all).

She’s talking about the persistent idea that a woman’s life can be morally dictated, and I’ve never been one for slogans, but I would readily get that sentence tattooed.What this dictation comes down to is biology, more or less, and what Solnit expresses with her gorgeously discreet sense of logic here is that there is simply no great way to get around the fact that (1) female bodies are seen as service objects and (2) female lives are seen as revolving around childbirth (which is of course the greatest bodily service of all).

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I will never think about power or gentleness in the same way again. With a deadly calm and phenomenal focus, Brit Bennett’s piece turns over the weight of this shifty juxtaposition—the black doll’s tragedy as a source of joy.

choices between American Girl identities (were you a Molly? The cruelty and the magnificence of it are inextricable.

She writes about “the grace of my parents, for whom exposing me to brutal stories was an act of love.” Stories can be transposed; every word here evolves the question forward.

**Two bonus picks from my own publication: “Prime of Life: The Story of My 20s, as Told in Amazon Purchases,” by Lacey Donohue, on Gawker (“a grimly hilarious piece of experimental memoir”) and “The Player Whose Bell Stayed Rung,” by Dave Mc Kenna for Deadspin (“in all the coverage of the NFL and concussions, I don’t think anything else quite fused of the joys and the horrors of football”). Mlotek’s essay explores how she has made a transition from merely a beloved writer to an easy shorthand for a certain type of literary importance. But Kiese Laymon’s essay helped me better understand a few things I’m pretty ignorant about—the appeal of football and the lived experience of racism in the south—in expansive detail.

It’s highly personal but also universal and relevant to contentious issues of the moment, which means it’s hitting on all levels that a great essay should.

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