Lady Bird and the Art of the In-Between

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Lady Bird tells a categorically un-special story. But as a coming-of-age narrative, the film is tasked with charting a course through that fearful space where childhood meets adulthood, or in this case, where girlhood meets womanhood.

Disappointment City: Roberto Arlt’s 1930 Trip to Rio de Janeiro

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When I moved to Rio de Janeiro and read Arlt for the first time, I began to grasp that the distance between expectation and reality, between hope and disappointment, animates and haunts the experience of the outsider to a foreign country.

The Evolution of True Crime

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Recent true crime memoirs written by women who have experienced unimaginable violence increasingly describe the sorts of events we cannot read from a comfortable remove.

Mary Cantwell Lived There

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“Other wives, most wives...they had, it seemed to me, certain tools I would never possess, the marital equivalent of street smarts,” Mary Cantwell wrote. “What was their secret? What did they know?”

Virginia Woolf and the Language of Trauma

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In reference to the sexual abuse Virginia Woolf endured by her half brothers, she once told her biographer Nigel Nicolson, “Nothing has really happened until it has been described.” This line stuck with me, especially after I’d been struggling with the words to tell the story of my rape.

Enchanted Prose: Lyrical Language as Strength in the Mythic Novel

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Mythopoeia, the making of myth, is primarily considered a genre reserved for writers of high fantasy (Tolkien coined the term). But to restrict mythopoeia to fantasy alone—to think of mythopoeia as a genre rather than a technique—is a disadvantage to realist writers, who then miss out on the advantages

A Gift from Darkness by Patience Ibrahim and Andrea C. Hoffman

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A Gift from Darkness: How I Escaped with my Daughter from Boko Haram is a powerful and moving tale of female resilience. Patience Ibrahim, who was kidnapped by Boko Haram twice, tells her survival tale to Andrea C. Hoffman, journalist and author of The Girl Who Beat ISIS.

Inherited Gender Roles in “The Makeover” by Janelle Greco

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In “The Makeover”, a piece of flash fiction published by Hobart, Janelle Greco captures the lives of three generations, exploring the way familial gender roles are passed on.

Weike Wang’s Chemistry

Chemistry began as the short story “Conversations with My Father,” published in the Summer 2016 issue of Ploughshares, guest-edited by Claire Messud and James Wood. Wang began thinking about what that protagonist might be like when she grew up and whether she might have an existential crisis in adulthood.

On Not Noticing

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Description is, in fact, more useful for what it says about the noticer than the noticed.