Couples in gender-normative roles will need to find the way to dismantle the expectations they set for themselves.
Those who have embraced queerness and otherness by necessity perhaps will become role models for reconstructing them.
If we reimagine the murders as a metaphor for vengeance, or interpret the removal of her children in a modern context, such as a more mild rejection of family roles, or as a controversial abortion, a different, suddenly a modern narrative emerges: one that looks a little more like .
It was in my classroom that we came to the conclusion that if she has one single label, we are more at ease with her. She is ingénue, warrior, witch, herbalist, healer, battle axe, voyager, immigrant, wife, mother, and woman scorned before she is a murderess.
Her crimes were crimes of passion, and crimes of passion come not from calculation but from reactivity to provocation.
What I found was a woman afflicted with landlessness, cut off from her family, a woman whose strengths were exploited, who fought her partner’s battles, used her skills, and then was discarded.
At this point in my re-imagining of the story she is going through the erasure of the self that comes with trying to fit in, failing, and trying again.
She also experiences an inability to find an outlet, to put words to her experience.
Medaeum spends the better part of the collection reflecting on how she got where she is, deciding not to have twin sons, and contemplating the murders she doesn’t actually commit, except of her own self-concept, which she escapes by distancing herself from the social construct and as a survival mechanism, aligning herself with her own animal nature and the natural elements in her foreign surroundings.
At the turning point, where she is rejected and begins to retreat, she is more of a Mary Webster from Margaret Atwood’s “Half-Hanged Mary,” or a Hester Prynne—a woman who knows more than she should, who knows also that she has been shunned.