Choose three books and answer the following question:

The strong bond between women is often a major theme in women's literature, but in many of the novels we have read the relationship between friends or mothers and daughters is either broken or difficult to establish.
What accounts for these strained female relationships?
How does separation from a friend or parent impact the characters' sense of self?
What do the authors seem to be saying about the importance of solitude?

Suggested books:

Susan Lori Parks Venus
Toni Morrison Sula
Edwidge Danticat Breath Eyes Memory
Jamaica Kincaid Lucy
Tsitsi Dangarembga Nervous Conditions.

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Feminist literature, specifically literature that focuses on women of color, tends to depict relationships between the female characters as one of bonding and of nurturing the common sisterhood attributes. However, throughout the semester, we have been diving into works that seem to ultimately destroy this pivotal sisterhood bond. Rather than seeing the attainment of strength and security through essential female bonds, as cited over and over again by multiple feminist and womanist scholars , these pieces of work showcase the demise of this female bond, whether illustrated through friend/friend relationships, sister/sister relationships or mother/daughter relationships. But it all ends up the same: a failed sisterhood.
On the other hand, it could be argued that the real motivation behind the authors’ words is not to premiere a failure of the female relationship, but to illuminate how these strained female relationships represent a struggling feminism; rather, that these unglorified relationships are a result of an anti-feminist society, one which is ingrained with oppressive, patriarchal, racist narratives that dictate an unnurturing environment. As discussed below, the novels we have studied this semester illustrate a that the strained female relationship is more so linked to a patriarchal environment rather than a failed feminism. Further, the writers go on to uplift the feminist philosophies and pragmatics to suggest that sometimes female solitude, as a result of these failed relationships, is important to the female sense of self....

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