I think that book probably will depress my students (assuming that LeGuin's genderless society does not freak them out before then). But then, since this is a class that a lot of people take just to fulfill the "intensive writing requirement" my university has, a lot of them will be coming in with no background in women's literature/feminism at all, let alone these concepts. That is why the first class is going to be a lecture with basic concepts like the difference between gender and sex, etc. :) I can prepare them a little.
The Holdfast trilogy is Charnas, right? I've read the first two! Walk to the End of the World and Motherlines. They were excellent. I haven't acquired the third one yet, but am waiting for it to ship.
Actually, four of them (I can't count, obviously). You still need The Furies and The Conqueror's Daugher, then -- but yay! You've read the first two, and seen the realism of the world Charnas builds!
I remember reviewing The Furies on my "vanilla" website (under my real name), which provoked a response direct from the author herself, remarking on how hard it had been to write.
Geez, they haven't yet even ever heard about the difference between gender and sex? This should make for some interesting classroom tales, though I hope we're not all chipping in to pay for your medication by the end. ;-)
Yep, The Furies is the one I'm waiting on at the moment.
I found it fascinating. I didn't expect the level of brutality, maybe because most post-apocalyptic novels I've read assume that many more animals and much more technology survived. (Well, and many more humans, too). I liked Motherlines better, though, because I loved the intricacy of the Riding Woman culture.
Some of my students might have heard of the concepts. It's just not something I can take for granted.
Yeah, it's pretty horrific. I suspect part of what Charnas was doing with the first book was to build the most vicious, horrible patriarchal society she could and still see if she could make it work (and if she could avoid focusing simply on how horrible and evil it was). For the record, I think raising the female children in pits 24/7 for several years would create non-functional human beings, useless for anything -- assuming they even survived such treatment. But for the most part, it's scarily plausible.
Don't know how much and how many spoilers you want, but in The Furies, the post-collapse patriarchal Holdfast culture is not quite as vicious. It no longer has the means or the organization to be.