The Role of Women in The Stone Diaries Essay

The Role of Women in The Stone Diaries Essay

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The Role of Women in The Stone Diaries   

  Gender inequities have existed since the beginning of time.  The various roles assigned to men and women in society have served to perpetuate differences that even until the present have not been overcome.  These gender differences are evident in The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields.  Initially the main character, Daisy Goodwill, is a pathetic, weak woman whose only joy comes from appreciating the small things in life.  After a series of personal events, she changes dramatically and becomes a stronger individual.  Daisy’s continual need for self-reliance is fulfilled by the changing society around her.

            Daisy’s initial character is anything but extraordinary.  She is ordinary in every way except her birth.  Neither of her parents knows her mother is pregnant.  Her mother dies in childbirth, leaving Daisy to find her place in society without her mother’s example.  Daisy grows up in a normal home, with guardians and basically lives a normal life.  Daisy’s moderate intelligence affects her both positively and negatively.  Daisy has certain fundamental needs, which sadly go unnoticed by those around her and even sometimes by herself.  Her appreciation of the small pleasures in life is attributed to her ordinariness.  As critic Geraldine Sherman points out, “Shields demonstrates there are no small lives, no lives out of which significance does not shine.  She makes us aware that banality, ultimately, is in the eye of the beholder” (47).  Her view of the beauty of nature and her curiosity towards people in general portray this.  On the other hand, Daisy’s average intelligence causes her inability to express herself.  Her conversations with her mother-in-law to be, Mrs.Hoad, ...

... middle of paper ...” The Spectator, September 4, 1993: 28 – 29.

Rpt. In Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Bringham Narins and Deborah A. Stanley. 

Vol. 91 Detroit: Gale Research, 1996. 167-168. 

 Fitzgerald, Penelope. Rev. of The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields. The London Review of Books September. 1993: 19-22. 

 Pool, Gail. “Imagination’s Invisible Ink.” in Women’s Review of Books, Vol.XI, No.8, May, 1994: 20. Discovering Authors The Gale Group, 2000. Available via…d&o=DataType&n=10&1=d&NA=shields%2C+Carol. (28 march 2000). 


Sherman, Geraldine. “Straining to Fulfill Ambitions.” The Globe and Mail 2 October.1993, natl.ed.: Cl+ 


Shields, Carol. The Stone Diaries. New York.: Penguin Books USA Inc. 1994.














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