Showing 261 - 270 of 503 annotations tagged with the keyword "Women's Health"

In the Hospital

Goedicke, Patricia

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A woman with breast cancer describes dealing with doctors and medical procedures, from facing "embarrassing questions" to the finality of the mastectomy itself. She copes passively with the procedures by escaping into a fantasy world; but when it is time for the doctors to remove her breast, she assumes an active role and "[gives] it to them."

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Lady Lazarus

Plath, Sylvia

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A 30 year-old woman describes with chilling power her three suicide attempts. She compares herself to a cat with nine lives and to a concentration camp victim; yet "dying / is an art . . . / I do it exceptionally well." The doctors/men that save her are the enemy, and she warns them to "beware."

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The Girl

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a graphic, highly-imaged portrayal of rape involving two twelve-year-old girls.

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First Menstruation

Bass, Ellen

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem describes the first period of a girl who has been waiting what seems "like a lifetime" for her period to start, only to find herself emotionally disconnected to her mother at this important rite of passage.

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Our Menstruation

Zelman, Cynthia

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

This is the story of Vicky, a metaphorical figure, who was both outsider and larger-than-life, and who was first on her junior high school softball team to start her period. She does so in the midst of a game, with boys and girls looking on, bases loaded, Vicky herself at bat. When she lifts her left leg during a swing, a large patch, a "sea of red" is visible in her crotch. Made aware of what has happened by the urgent cries of some of her girlfriends, Vicky looks down, shrugs, and continues her run around the bases: a home run. Vicky, big as an earthquake, comes to symbolize womanhood for these girls, moving them to some slightly higher plateau of understanding about being women, and being together.

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Snapshots of Grace

Henderson-Holmes, Safiya

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

This story presents a denial of breast cancer so deep that it may cost a woman her life. Arranged by discrete sections labeled "photographs," the story is a chronology of Grace from age five to her present middle age. The story ends after her surgery, and readers are left with the insight that for Grace--and many other women--breasts were more than sexual appendages that warranted admiration from others, visual affirmation of her womanness, or sexual enticements. They were her body, her self, and removal of her breast was not simply removal of a peripheral part.

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Something to Look Forward To

Piercy, Marge

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem is a cynical yet earthy account of menstruation and the ambivalence many women feel toward it. The narrative voice is a middle-aged woman recounting how periods have interrupted her life in various ways, some quite dramatically, others humorously. The final verse, however, provides the sardonic twist of the poem: when twelve-year-old Penny is handed a pad the "size of an ironing board cover," she cries out "Do I have to do this from now till I die?" The answer is, of course, no, at which point she replies, quite relieved, that there is something "to look forward to."

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A Country Doctor

Jewett, Sarah Orne

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Summary:

Nan Prince is an orphan who becomes the ward of the local general practitioner, Dr. Leslie, upon the death of her elderly aunt. Nan and Dr. Leslie develop a close emotional bond. She is a bright young woman who enjoys accompanying him during his long day's work as a country doctor in Oldfields. They often discuss medicine and healing. Dr. Leslie encourages Nan to read medical books, while instilling in her an understanding of the intimacies of his patients' lives and a love of caring for them. He would like to see her become a physician, an ambition she soon begins to pursue despite many obstacles. She goes away to medical school in the city.

After her first year at medical school, she spends part of the summer in the town of Dunport where she is introduced to her closest relative, Miss Prince (her father's sister), and the "smart" society she has never experienced in the country. Miss Prince and Nan's new friends are all amazed and scandalized by the thought of a woman becoming a physician. They think the whole idea is utterly outrageous, especially for a young, attractive woman like Nan.

She meets and falls in love with a young lawyer, George Gerry, who asks her to marry him. With great emotional pain (but no hesitation), Nan chooses medicine over marriage. She returns to medical school and, after graduation, to spend a year in Oldfields practicing with Dr. Leslie. In the end she stands by the river on a beautiful summer day, raises her hands to the sky, and exclaims, "O God . . . I thank thee for my future!"

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Girl, Interrupted

Kaysen, Susanna

Last Updated: May-17-2006
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Memoir

Summary:

Written with controlled elegance, this is an absorbing autobiographical account of psychiatric hospitalization. Twenty-five years after the fact, the author describes the two years during her late adolescence in which she "slip[ped] into a parallel universe." The surreal nature of the experience is reflected in darkly comedic recollections of her inner life, the other patients, their families, the staff, and of forays into the outside world.

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Annotated by:
Duffin, Jacalyn

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Summary:

The Canadian narrator, Marie, is in a Paris archive, reading and translating excerpts from the diary of the Jewish mother of Marcel Proust. The entries cover the period from 1890 to 1905. Mme. Proust and her physician husband make excuses for their son's lax behavior, and they worry over his chronic asthma, his social agenda, his apparent lack of interest in women, and his risky future as a writer. Like the entire country, the Proust family divides over the anti-Semitic Dreyfus affair. Later, Mme. Proust writes of her own illness with cancer.

Nearly half a century later, young Sophie Bensimon is sent to safety in Canada from France by her Jewish parents who were never heard from again. In reaction to this loss, Sophie walls herself from emotional expression. Her childless, adoptive parents, the Plots, have difficulty understanding her return to France to search for evidence of her birth parents' demise. She too must cope with archives, papers, and bureaucracy, but she discovers some details of their fate at Auschwitz. She marries a doctor, keeps a kosher kitchen, and worries over every minor event in the life of her son, Max.

As Marie struggles against a pressing deadline to research and translate without reinterpretation, she is aware that her choices will inevitably skew her findings. With this work, she imposes herself, her tastes and her needs on another woman's past. And she remembers her passionate love for Max whose genuine fondness for her finds no sexual expression because he, like Marcel Proust, prefers men.

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