Feminism in Braided Lives

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Feminism in Braided Lives Marge Piercy is well known for her feminist views and attitudes throughout her novels. Braided Lives is no exception. The novel follows Piercy's pattern of feminist writing. The characters in the novel are victims of society's crimes towards women. The protagonist, Jill, deals with many issues including rape and abortion. Due to her own experiences with these issues, it becomes her passion to help others in the same situation. Jill constantly strives to be in control of her own life; this struggle is another facet of the feminist movement. The goal of the novel is to "make its readers pay more attention to the current attack on legal abortion, and make them more eager to defend the imperiled gains of the women's movement" (Pollitt 378). Jill and her female companions encounter many difficult situations involving rape. At age 14, Jill is attacked by her boyfriend Freddie. This occurs at a time when Jill is first discovering her own sexuality and who she is. This experience has an effect on Jill into adulthood. In the novel, she speaks of this experience four years later, when she is preparing to leave for college. Jill recalls this event in vivid detail. I see his face hard and angry and I remember the terror that gripped me on the kitchen floor when I realized he wasn't going to listen to my firm loud nos that time. Terror twitched me violently... (30). Jill's cousin and roommate, Donna, is violently raped by a townie. Donna comes to Jill after the rape has taken place. She has been beaten both physically and emotionally. Piercy describes the rape and the aftermath of the rape in great detail. dedicating several pages to describing the horrific acts. Jill won't leave Donna's side and nurses her back to health. Jill takes it upon herself to defend and protect Donna against the man who raped her. This is just one of many times in which Jill defends and protects her female friends against society throughout Braided Lives. Fighting for a woman's right for an abortion becomes Jill's passion in life. This is a result of her own experiences and those of her friends. When Jill is a freshman in college she becomes pregnant by her boyfriend. Neither is ready for the responsibility of marriage or a child.
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