Roles Of Women In Unbroken And The Book Thief

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During times of crisis, women have been marginalized continuously, and although many would like to think so, conditions for women have not changed much over time. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak both reflect that. Women in literature and in real life who deserve lead roles are often forced into supporting roles. Most people understand this but few acknowledge it. Strong female characters such as Liesel in The Book Thief, Penelope in The Odyssey, and Antigone in Antigone need to be honored the same way strong male characters are. Sometimes, strong women are put down by others. In The Book Thief, Liesel is constantly called nasty names and punished just for speaking her mind. This shows the patriarchal ways of…show more content…
In The Odyssey, Odysseus executed his maids for sleeping with the suitors. The maids were just trying to protect themselves while their master was gone. Odysseus himself had slept with two goddesses on his ten-year journey at that point. “ The gods brought me to the island Ogygia, where Calypso lives, with ordered hair, a dread goddess, and she received me and loved me excessively and cared for me, and she promised to make me an immortal and all my days to be ageless, but never so could she win over the heart within me.” (Book 7, 254-258) This is a common double standard that still exists today. Odysseus himself confronts the suitors about what they did to the maids and still killed them. “You never imagined I’d return from Troy- so cocksure that you bled my house to death, ravished my serving women- wooed my wife behind my back while I was still alive!” (Book 22, 36-39) Odysseus was clearly victim blaming the poor maids that had been loyal to Penelope…show more content…
Many would argue that The Book Thief is a feminist book, including a female lead who rebels against rules put in place by Adolf Hitler himself. “The words were thrown at the steps and Liesel could feel the slush of anger, stirring hotly in her stomach. ‘I hate the Füher,’ she said. ‘I hate him.’ ”(Page 115) People often rebelled, but most were not eleven year old girls. Athena in The Odyssey was a very strong character as well. Odysseus, the male hero, even depended on her to help him during battle and to disguise himself. “But come now, let me make you so that no mortal can recognize you. For I will wither the handsome flesh that is on your flexible limbs, and ruin the brown hair on your head, and about you put on such a clout of cloth any man will loathe when he sees you wearing it; I will dim those eyes, that have been so handsome, so you will be unprepossessing to all the suitors and your wife and child, those whom you left behind in your palace.” (Book 13, 396-403) Greek literature sometimes showed signs of female empowerment, but most mortal female characters were nothing more than wives or maids. Antigone was one of the few exceptions. She was strong, smart, and didn’t care what people thought of her. She was fearless, unlike her sister Ismene, who felt limited in her options because she was a woman. She did not think a woman could ever bury her brother’s body,

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