What is with all of these character point-of-views. I’m almost finding this book to be as confusing as The Female Man with the perspective always shifting to another character. It’s not so bad when the title of the section is the character’s name of who’s point-of-view the chapter is written in, but it’s very confusing, at least for me, when it’s not specified, especially since sometimes the chapters are written in a character’s POV in first person and other times in 3rd.
I’m wondering if this method of having so many different POV’s and switching them so often has anything to do with what we talked about in class on Tuesday. We were talking about how Docherty said that all postmodern novels have characters in which readers can never obtain their “essence” or they never realize themselves in the story, or whatever definition we decided to use for “essence”. I think this does hold true for Dream Jungle, but I don’t know if Hagedom meant for it to be that way. She does a good job of describing scenes and bringing a reader into the setting an the action, but as far as keeping up with the characters, I am finding it to be difficult. I think the switching of the perspectives is also confusing the plot a little for me as well, though it might be a bit confusing otherwise since there are two stories going on that aren’t completely connecting yet for me.
I haven’t read ahead of Thursday’s reading so maybe I will be less confused once I do, but I know that I’m having trouble getting into to these novels with so many different, alternating POV’s. I’m wondering if that’s a trait of the majority of postmodern novels. Before reading the last two or three novels we’ve read for class, I wouldn’t say it is, but now I’m thinking that it might be. Which is annoying. For me.
In Female Man, Joanna Russ creates four female protagonists all existing in different times, different worlds. So far we’ve met Janet Evason from Whileaway, a futurustic utopian society with an all-female population, and Jeannine Dadier, a librarian living in a world that never saw the end of the Great Depression. By reading the synopsis on the back of the book I learned of the other two main protagonists, Joanna, living in a world similar to the world in the 1970’s where feminism was first started to become big, and Jael, who “is a warrior with steel teeth and catlike retractable claws, from an earth with separate– and warring– female and male societies.”
I’m finding the changing perspectives in the part that we read for last Thursday to be pretty confusing, especially as the “I” remains unnamed for what I’ve read so far, though I believe the “I” may be Joanna. Which makes me wonder about the naming of the protagonists– is this fictional Joanna going to be a representation of how Joanna Russ sees herself? Also, with the way in which all of the main characters’ names begin with “J”, does Joanna Russ consider each to be a respresentation of some aspect or characteristics that she sees in herself, or maybe in all women? If so, she doesn’t seem to like her Jeannine-like characteristics to much.
The format and writing in the book in general are more troubling for me than any content of the book I’ve observed. I really find it quite unsavory, and feel that maybe Joanna Russ was concentrating to hard on what she wanted to say when she wrote The Female Man and how she wanted the themes to form. I don’t think she spent to much times worrying about the writing in the book. Or maybe she feels that eloquence is too feminine a characteristic to use in her novel. At least that would be an excuse.