Category Archives: Others

coloured face

Racism in literature

 

Let’s talk about racism in literature, surely a delicate topic. I am aware that this subject can generate a lot of controversies. So, first of all, I would like to clarify that in this post any racial reference does not have any negative connotation and this issue will be treated with all the respect it deserves.

Racism has been present one way or another during our existence. As a result, there are manuscripts of different ages that reflect it. Many writers found in their literary art a way to denounce this.

Racism in fiction and medieval fantasy genres

Even in fiction and medieval genre, many authors have included racism in their lore in one way or another. To cite a few examples of more than well-known sagas, in Lord of the Rings, Tolkien included in the lore the contempt that existed between some of the fantastic races of the Middle Earth, who does not remember the contempt that existed between the dwarves and the elves? both races had no problem in showing their mutual contempt. However, Gimli (a dwarf) and Legolas (an elf) would end up being great friends.

Another example in fantasy literature would be Harry Potter (which if you loved, you can check these other suggestions). The aversion that some magicians felt towards Muggles (a person who lacks the magical ability and was not born in a magical family) or mudblood (a foul name for someone who is Muggle-born) would be a different approach to racism. Racism is present in these novels in different ways, and is in fact, partly at least, the plot of the second volume of this saga, The Chamber of Secrets.

There are not a few authors who, in one way or another, introduce racism in their books, as something to deny or fight against. By denouncing it, these books help many people to realize this issue, to create social awareness and to stand up against racial prejudice.

Which novels are about facing racism?

To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee, 1960.A classic of modern literature, no doubt. This book takes place in the Alabama of the 1930s.  It tells the story of a lawyer, Atticus Finch, who stands up against all the prejudices of a village, deciding to defend an African-American man accused of raping a young white woman. While the rest of the villagers already consider him guilty, not even requiring a trial, Atticus Finch will do his best to prove his innocence earning the disrespect of most of the Maycomb citizens (a fictional city). The story is set in the Alabama of the 1930s. The story speaks of racism as present in society but shows the titanic efforts of those “racial heroes”, such as the courageous lawyer Atticus Finch, to fight against it.

The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas, 2017. The Hate U Give addresses the problem of racism in our time. This novel tells the story of Starr Carter, a girl born in a poor neighborhood of African-American people who attends high school in an elegant neighborhood. Things will get worse when she witnesses how Khalil, a childhood friend, get shot by the police.

Broken Earth Series

By N. K. Jemisin, 2015 (first novel). This series is a prominent example of racism in fiction. In this case, the prejudice goes against the orogenes, people with a mutation that makes them capable of preventing (and also causing) earthquakes.  They are both hated and feared, many of them ending up being murdered due to this.

Thud!

Terry Pratchett, 1997. Thud! is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, it is part of his Discworld series. In Thud! A murder of a dwarf will reveal their contempt for trolls, a different approach to racism. If you want to know about Discworld, you only have to click here to know more.

 

Literature conveys messages through characters, this is why it is so powerful and yet beautiful. It thus becomes a perfect tool for raising awareness and mobilizing society.

Discover more on Wottaread

FIGHTER WOMAN

Women in fantasy and fiction

 

The world is changing, and so is writing. Stories where women were limited to those stereotyped roles of a damsel in distress who needs a White Knight to save them have long gone away. And that is absolutely great news, it proves that being brave and fighting for what one feels is fair is no longer a matter of gender but attitude. Women in literature, and of course in fantasy and fiction,  fight on their own ⚔️

Many fantasy authors have been able to reflect this change. It’s no longer a fantasy to read about female main character or relevant sidekicks who are self-sufficient, fighters and capable of acting on their own behalf.

I am sure this is encouraging for a lot of people. So I wanted to show some examples of relevant female characters in some epic novels:

Eowyn

Undoubtedly one of the most important characters in The Lord of the Rings (which if you loved you may like these suggestions) saga since she was the only one capable of defeating the fearsome Witch-king of Angmar (the leader of the Nazgûl or Ringwraiths), the one who could not be defeated by any man. Warrior of Rohan, was continuously protected by both his uncle and his brother, not allowing her to fight. She had to deceive both and disguise as a man in order to go to the battlefield. Not only she fought as bravely as anyone, defeated the leader of the Nazgûl was one the reasons their army took advantage over Mordor’s.

I couldn’t resist to include this quote:

“Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me!”

Then Merry heard in all sounds of the hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed, and the clear voice was like the ring of steel.

“But no living man am I! You are looking upon a woman. Eowyn am I, Eomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

Epic, isn’t it?

Katniss Everdeen

The Hunger Games did not seem like a suitable place for a young lady, but Katniss was far beyond all that. From survivor to winner of the games defeating all those who looked like favorites. Proving that after her apparent fragility, there was a warrior spirit, capable of imposing on everyone and everything.

Yennefer

The love of Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher series) smelling like lilac and gooseberries. Not only smells good, But Yennefer is also a powerful sorceress who has cleverly and magically camouflaged both her real age and appearance. Aside from her magical abilities, she also played a very important role as King Demawend’s adviser, a position that until then seemed to be reserved only for men.

Funnily, the writer of the series, Andrzej Sapkowski, said the following:

 

When I created Yennefer’s character I wanted Geralt to fully grow, but then I decided to make things complicated. I created a female character who refuses to be a fantasy stereotype to please the reader.

Brienne of Tarth

Brienne of Tarth is a relevant character of A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) and, in my opinion, a really inspiring one. Daughter of the Lord of Tarth, being she his only heiress, she would behave more like a soldier. After a life of rejection due to both her unattractive appearance and her lack of feminine social graces, she will find her path, the path of the knights.

She started as King Renly’s personal bodyguard and ended up becoming a sword sworn by Catelyn Stark in the search for her daughters. She successfully carried out his mission and ended up protecting both Arya and Sansa. Earning the respect of both friends and enemies, as is seen with the treatment she has with Jaime Lannister. Throughout fiction, we see her as a figure capable of defeating any warrior, however fearsome they may be, as is the case with The Hound. In addition, Brienne goes to the battlefield without hesitation and is shown as a mortal and dangerous enemy.

 

So here you had some examples of some popular books for women to be inspired, I hope they are encouraging enough and hope these are cool good reads for you.

Discover more on Wottaread