Janisse Ray: Defying The Norm Essay

Janisse Ray: Defying The Norm Essay

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Janisse Ray was not your typical southern girl; “feminism came early and naturally to me” (Ray 203). In her book Ecology of a Cracker Childhood Ray takes us into her childhood and way of life. Ray talks about the land she grew up on, and shows us that through her childhood she became a “tomboy” as her mother stated (Ray 203). In the South in the 1960’s this was not smiled upon, women were supposed to fit a certain role. Janisse Ray’s book is influenced by her gender and she also looks not only at the stereotypes of men and women, but conflicts that arise from these stereotypes.
The form of this work is influenced by the fact that Janisse is a woman. She feels a deep connection with the land where she was raised. “The landscape that I was born to, that owns my body” (Ray 13). She definitely expresses her feelings of injustice for the environment much differently than a man would. She also focuses on her desire to not accept her role as a typical woman. Not only as a child did she refuse to act like a little, sweet, innocent girl, but when she grew up, she defied the norm and attended college – and she had a passion for science which is also uncommon in most girls. “When I was eighteen and away from my town, I dived recklessly and surely into the world, not because it was a form of rebellion, as people might think, but as a form of healing and revival.” By this we can see Ray’s desire to go off by herself and take a risk. She took the plunge and control of her life becoming independent.
The lives of men and women are portrayed definitively in this novel. The setting of the story is in southern Georgia in the 1960’s, a time when women were expected to fit a certain role in society. When she was younger she would rather be playing ...


... middle of paper ...


...ore vocal and strived for equality among all people.” Ray feels these injustices towards women early in her life and continues to fight for them. When she was young she “raved at her [mother] about the injustice of women’s work” (Ray 203). She was raised by her mother to be a girly-girl, but influenced by the land, her brothers, and her dad, and choose to be who she wanted to be.



Works Cited

Haslanger, Sally, Tuana, Nancy and O'Connor, Peg, "Topics in Feminism", The Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
Ray, Janisse . Ecology of a Cracker Childhood. Canada: Milkweed Editions, 1999. 1-272. Print.
Sink, Nancy. "1960's - 1980's Women's Liberation Movement." Women's Liberation Movement.
C. T. Evans and N. Sink., 27 Dec 2011. Web. 7 Mar 2012.

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