Genus, Genius, And Gender In Housekeeping By Marilynne Robinson

1859 Words 8 Pages
After reading Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, one may ask, how does this book fit into a course addressing genus, genius, and gender? For one, this course focuses on the female geniuses of literature and how they fall into the genus, which is driven by the male gender. In this respect, the narrator in Housekeeping is a young girl, Ruth, who happens to be the genius in this story. She tells us, in quite detail, the story of how her family came to reside in the town of Fingerbone, and the struggles she and her sister Lucille went through after their mother and grandmother passed away. Ruth starts out the story by telling us, the reader, about her grandfather, whom she never had the pleasure of knowing. She tells us of his paintings of …show more content…
She was beginning to feel the push to live under everyone’s expectations. Lucille was gravitating toward the “norm” that the people of Fingerbone had come to live by. She wanted to wear pretty clothes and go to dances. She wanted to better her education so she could get out of Fingerbone. She wanted to live in the “light”. The one time she decided to “flood the room so suddenly with light” (Robinson, M., 1980, p.148); it shocked both Sylvie and Ruth. As Ruth stated, “In the light we were startled and uncomfortable” (p. 150). Why was this? It seems that in the dark they were able to hide from everyone, even themselves. This way they were unable to see one another and felt that they were in a room of their own, were able to look how they wanted, and the privacy to think what they wanted. But Lucille didn’t want to hide anymore. She’d had enough and finally moved in with her teacher, leaving everything of her behind to Ruth. Lucille didn’t want anything to do with that life anymore. She wanted a real room of her own. A place where she was allowed to be who she wanted without Ruth making fun of her or refusing to help her because she thought it was silly or boring, a place where she could have a diary without the fear of someone reading …show more content…
There was to be a hearing, and both Sylvie and Ruth knew she would be taken away. So the two of them set fire to the house and ran off. Their hope was to have the house burn to the ground and people would think they perished in the fire. They made their way across the bridge where the train derailed; a bridge that no one has ever attempted to cross in fear of death, but Sylvie knew exactly when the trains passed through so there was no fear. The town believed the girls had died in the lake. The same lake where Ruth’s grandfather and mother both perished. They had made it. They were no longer criticized for being unlike the others. They were free to be whomever they

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