Alice Walker is never an author to fail or disappoint her fans and readers. Walker in Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down thoroughly engages the mind of the womanist/black feminist. Although written in the 1980s, many of the short stories within the book are very much relevant today and I would venture to say may even awaken the womanist/black feminist thoughts of women who have yet to identify with either of the two labels. Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down explores the factors that shape the lives of black women, such as cultural appropriation, rape, abortion, pornography, misogyny, and the sexual objectification of the bodies of women to name a few. Of the thirteen short stories within the book I provide you with a brief summary of the two on the short stories that I’d have to say were my favorite.
How Did I Get Away with Killing One of the Biggest Lawyers in the State? It Was Easy
In How Did I Get Away with Killing One of the Biggest Lawyers in the State? It Was Easy, Walker explores the physical and mental rape of a 14 year old black girl. The protagonist was first raped when she was 12. As the protagonist recounts her story, the raping of little black girls is viewed as something normal and not rare during the times and society that she grew up in.
“It was nothing for a girl or woman to be raped. I was raped myself, when I was twelve, and my Mama never knew and I never told anybody. For, what could they do? It was just a boy, passing through. Somebody’s cousin from the North.”
Malala Yousafzai, the courageous Pakistani girl who was shot in the face by the Taliban in 2012, beautifully recounts her life story as a child activist in I Am Malala; fighting for the right to education, especially for girls and women in a war-torn and misogynistic society under Taliban rule.
Born to a father who valued education and the believed that the “lack of education was the root of Pakistan’s problems…”, Ziauddin Yousafzai was a man set part from most Pakistani men of the Muslim faith; he believed that everyone had the right to a good education despite their income status or gender. Her father believed the pervasive ignorance in the Pakistan was as a result of the lack of education among the Pakistani people. Much of the rampant manipulation of the Pakistani people in the name of Allah or allegedly outlined in the Qur’an was due to their inability to read and interpret the teachings of the Qur’an for themselves.
“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world”