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  #1  
Old 01-23-2012, 03:10 PM
Universum Universum is offline
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Default What books should my C-essay supervisor read?

Ok. I am soon enough going to write my c-essay on english literature. I've decided to go for Wheel of Time from a gender perspective. I believe that, in Wheel of Time, women are pretty much born strong - they don't have to fight for it like i.e. Eówyn in LotR or Daenerys in ASoIaF. So, this is going to kind of sort of be my main theme (I'm still very much in the process of brain storming etc.).

As my teacher hasn't read the WOT series, and since he has more students and other classes, it would be a bit unreasonable to demand that he reads them all, and he has asked me to recommend 2-3 books that would be of more relevance than the others (meaning, the books that I would probably use the most myself).

I can't for the life of me pick out 2-3 books for him to read. I need your help. Out of a gender perspective, mostly showing strong women, which ones would it be?

I believe that The Eye of the World should be one of them, simply because I think that it would be easier to grasp the world we're in if you read the introduction (duh..). But then again, it might be a waste of time because there are other books that might be more relevant.. Argh! I'm going mad here! Help me! :/
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:20 PM
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The Gathering Storm is probably your best bet; this is the book where Egwene and Nynaeve are at their finest. They pretty much carry that story.

Next in line would be The Shadow Rising and the intro to the Aiel.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:26 PM
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Next in line would be The Shadow Rising and the intro to the Aiel.
I'm not entirely sure of what happens in which book, as I've mainly read them in Swedish (re-reading them in English now, though), and 1 english book is 2 swedish books. So, now that this was cleared out, is this the first time that we meet them (as in people were attacked by them, I'm thinking about Gaul in the cage etc..), or is it when we get to the Aiel Waste and see how they live etc? Get introduced to their culture.. Because I think that the culture might be a better go than meeting Gaul in a cage, if you catch my drift. ^^
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:34 PM
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New Spring, TEOTW and TGH. Simple enough.
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:35 PM
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Something you may want to consider for your thesis, what exactly does it mean to be born strong? Strength - at least the kind that you appear to be talking about - is measured by the decisions one makes, how well one deals with problems, whether one finds a solution or folds and so forth. To that extent to be "born strong" is a contradiction in terms because a newborn has not made any decisions or faced any problems yet.

Strength is only valued in contrast to weakness so if you're going to argue that every woman in WOT has innate strength at the moment of brith, then you're saying they're all strong. Which means none of them are.

Or more precisely, it means that the concept of strength is irrelevant because everyone is at the same point on the scale. It's like if everything in existence was exactly the same size then words like "big" and "small" would not exist in our lexicon.

To say that a single woman is born strong - born with innate strength - is one thing; to say that all of them are invalidates the concept.

Also, how can you call it strength if they "don't have to work for it.".
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Maybe I couldn't catch up no, but maybe she could have waited.
  #6  
Old 01-23-2012, 03:44 PM
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Something you may want to consider for your thesis, what exactly does it mean to be born strong? Strength - at least the kind that you appear to be talking about - is measured by the decisions one makes, how well one deals with problems, whether one finds a solution or folds and so forth. To that extent to be "born strong" is a contradiction in terms because a newborn has not made any decisions or faced any problems yet.

Strength is only valued in contrast to weakness so if you're going to argue that every woman in WOT has innate strength at the moment of brith, then you're saying they're all strong. Which means none of them are.

Or more precisely, it means that the concept of strength is irrelevant because everyone is at the same point on the scale. It's like if everything in existence was exactly the same size then words like "big" and "small" would not exist in our lexicon.

To say that a single woman is born strong - born with innate strength - is one thing; to say that all of them are invalidates the concept.

Also, how can you call it strength if they "don't have to work for it.".
I am intending to compare them with women of other fantasy novels (like Eowyn and Daenerys, that I mentioned in my original post, that really have to fight for their position in society), and it is in that comparison that they are born strong. Compared to each other, you are right in the idea that if they are all strong -> no one is strong. The women of WoT are not automatically worse of in society because they are women. A successful woman is nothing unusual etc. It is mostly in comparison with women from other books..
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Old 01-23-2012, 03:46 PM
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New Spring, TEOTW and TGH. Simple enough.
I totally agree.

The order if I could decide would probably be TEOTW, TGH, NS.

The effect of Moiaine and Siuan is less strong if you just read them as stumbling novices.
There are some stuff about Moiraine and Siuan that's revealed in NS that diminishes the surprise of things in TGH.

Your teacher may not be aware of the book sizes. If you are restricted to 2 books then scrap NS and go with the first 2 of the series.
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Last edited by Tomp; 01-23-2012 at 03:51 PM.
  #8  
Old 01-23-2012, 03:50 PM
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I totally agree.

The order if I could decide would probably be TEOTW, TGH, NS.

The effect of Moiaine and Siuan is less strong if you just read them as stumbling novices.
There are some stuff about Moiraine and Siuan that's revealed in NS that diminishes the surprise of things in TGH.
What specific events is it that you are referring to in TGH that are of relevance?

As I mentioned in an earlier post - I've mainly read them in Swedish translation, and one book in english is two in swedish -> the title doesn't give me so much. :P I do, however, completely agree with the fact that NS should be read last.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2012, 03:53 PM
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TEOTW is mostly Rand and Perrin-centric though, with 3 Nynaeve POV chapters and 1 Moiraine POV paragraph. Better to go with TGS and Egwene's MOA's instead.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2012, 04:05 PM
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What specific events is it that you are referring to in TGH that are of relevance?

As I mentioned in an earlier post - I've mainly read them in Swedish translation, and one book in english is two in swedish -> the title doesn't give me so much. :P I do, however, completely agree with the fact that NS should be read last.
The relevance for female characters are especially prevalent in their time in Fal Dara where every man steps wide of the women.
They also meet the Amyrlin there who, at the time, is the most powerful person in the world, at least when it comes to respect from other rulers.

A good scene could be when Rand learns that he's supposed to meet the Amyrlin, the putting on nice clothes scene with Lan and ending with the meeting itself. In that scene you have the bit about Lan telling him that everyone answers a summons from the Amyrlin.

Another scene in Fal Dara is the conversation Rand has with Lord Agelmar, when he tries to see Egwene, where Agelmar basically says that women decides what the men are allowed to do.
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2012, 04:11 PM
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TEOTW is mostly Rand and Perrin-centric though, with 3 Nynaeve POV chapters and 1 Moiraine POV paragraph. Better to go with TGS and Egwene's MOA's instead.
That is true, you see everything from their point of view. The problem is that the teacher hadn't read the series.
It's easier to start at the beginning with 2 POW rather than 12 books in with 20 or so plots and 50 important characters going on at the same time.
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:27 PM
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TEOTW is mostly Rand and Perrin-centric though, with 3 Nynaeve POV chapters and 1 Moiraine POV paragraph. Better to go with TGS and Egwene's MOA's instead.
Well, that isn't really a problem. You could still see a strong person through someone else's perspective, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomp
That is true, you see everything from their point of view. The problem is that the teacher hadn't read the series.
It's easier to start at the beginning with 2 POW rather than 12 books in with 20 or so plots and 50 important characters going on at the same time.
Yeah, I thought about that too. Maybe I should give him like a family tree or something? :P
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:43 PM
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I refuse to read the swedish translations because of the horrible name of the series.

In addition I've found that reading the books in english has been positive in a couple of ways.
First, you don't have the filter between the author and the reader which a translation sometimes can be.
Second, it really helped me with my english to read books in english. You expand your vocabulary and understanding quite a bit.
Third, it's easier to comunicate with these other lunatics on this site.
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:51 PM
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I refuse to read the swedish translations because of the horrible name of the series.

In addition I've found that reading the books in english has been positive in a couple of ways.
First, you don't have the filter between the author and the reader which a translation sometimes can be.
Second, it really helped me with my english to read books in english. You expand your vocabulary and understanding quite a bit.
Third, it's easier to comunicate with these other lunatics on this site.
Lol, I didn't notice that I had another Swede here. ^^ But yeah, I agree. It's much, much better in English in so many ways. I simply read it in Swedish because that's what I, by accident, started with, and then it just continued..
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:53 PM
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Better to go with TGS and Egwene's MOA's instead.
So...the essay should be about how spankings provide good character development for female characters?
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:05 PM
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TGH contains the single darkest example of gender politics in the series; Egwene's time in captivity as a damane highlights the essential dichotomy of the gender-essential magic system, as well as the weaknesses inherent therein (women "surrender" to the Power and thus can be collared and manipulated more easily than men who struggle against it). It also highlights much about the character of Egwene, who, like her or not, cannot be ignored in a discussion of gender in WOT.

Any chance we might get to see the finished essay? I'm hoping to put together an article on this very subject for a feminist blog around the time of AMOL being released.
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  #17  
Old 01-23-2012, 05:42 PM
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TGH contains the single darkest example of gender politics in the series; Egwene's time in captivity as a damane highlights the essential dichotomy of the gender-essential magic system, as well as the weaknesses inherent therein (women "surrender" to the Power and thus can be collared and manipulated more easily than men who struggle against it). It also highlights much about the character of Egwene, who, like her or not, cannot be ignored in a discussion of gender in WOT.

Any chance we might get to see the finished essay? I'm hoping to put together an article on this very subject for a feminist blog around the time of AMOL being released.
Well.. whenever it passes it will be published online whether I would want it or not, so I guess you could :P Nah, but if I turn out pleased with it I am likely to post it here. It's not supposed to be done until May/June-ish, though. But I might publish drafts here before that in order to get feedback ^^

Also, thank you for the Damane-aspect. That part is important indeed, and I had "forgotten" about it. I really dislike Egwene, but I have started coming to terms with the fact that she will be one of the most important characters in my essay. :P
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Old 01-23-2012, 05:58 PM
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(women "surrender" to the Power and thus can be collared and manipulated more easily than men who struggle against it)
I didnt know that was proven or just my silly idea about why they worked. and I never thought about the difference in the power being because of gender in that way.

I looked at it like a pair of hydraulic systems one using natural pressure and the other using a type pump and since the symbol for Aes Sedai was from the bottom half of the old sign it made sense to me.
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:54 PM
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How about including some time in Far Madding to contrast that kind of civilisation - the obvious matriarchal - with the other societal systems in Randland, where gender stuff is less... flagrant.

It's annoying your supervisor can't read the lot
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Old 01-24-2012, 01:08 AM
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How about including some time in Far Madding to contrast that kind of civilisation - the obvious matriarchal - with the other societal systems in Randland, where gender stuff is less... flagrant.

It's annoying your supervisor can't read the lot
It is INCREDIBLY annoying. I think that this might be one of the hardest tasks I'll face. :S
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