Short Stories: The Girl with the Hungry Eyes, Bits and Pieces, While She Was Out, Cold Turkey, & Lightning Rod

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The short stories, “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes” by Fritz Lieber, “Bits and Pieces,” by Lisa Tuttle, “While She Was Out” by Edward Bryant, “Cold Turkey” by Carole Nelson Douglas, and “Lightning Rod” by Melanie Tem Historically, in literature, women are stereotypically placed in one of two roles, the doting wife and beloved mother, or the more outwardly psychotic, witch-like, temptress. As the feminist approach to the criticism of literature has blossomed over time, the need for empowered female characters has surfaced. To rectify the absence of this character, “wild women literature” has made many advances in the defiance of gender role stereotypes and gender norms. The women in the collection of wild women short stories are difficult to define because of society’s pre-conceived notions of how women should and do behave. The term “wild women” conveys a slightly negative and sometimes misinterpreted connotation of a woman’s behavior; however, in this collection of stories, the female characters are generally vindicated because of the motivation behind their actions. The motivation can be linked to the popular cultural phenomenon of women taking charge of their lives, making decisions for themselves, being independent, rising above their oppressors (most commonly the close men in their lives), and becoming empowered. Vigilante actions by the wild women in these stories are not entirely representative of madness, but also re...

... middle of paper ... in shadowy corners, of mutilated orifices. Dead sometimes. And more often, unfortunately living to remember. Or to disassociate” (141-2). At this point Bertha has begun to sympathize with the bird; it is a victim, much like herself.

As the patient yells at her, and the ambulance sounds get louder from the fire emergency, she thinks harder and deeper about victims. “These would be burned people. Pained people. Helpless people. Victims of circumstance. Not victims of deliberate abuse. Why did the perpetrators prove so hard to convict and to punish? Why did they go on and on, to victimize again?” (142). After this thought, and the patient calling Bertha a “stupid bitch,” Bertha decides to not let the perpetrator get off so easily this time. Allowing her inner pain to become her power, Bertha castrates the man while the turkey still clings to his groin.

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