The Female Thrive For Freedom

In the book Written by Herself edited by Jill Conway, we have four individuals who subjunctive compare in some sense and unfold their life histories through their own eyes. These Individuals are; Emma Mashinini, Vera Brittain, Carolina Maria de Jesus, and Vijaya Pandit. Casting in their shoes all have passed through a lot of experience in quest of freedom. Though their life is different, and in various parts of the world, they share almost similar experiences. Through their narration, we are brought to light in noticing that though things might not always be perfect, we should strive and try to find the best out of the challenging situations. Emma Mashinini stood up for what she believed and was unjustly imprisoned for believing in doing well to all. Vijaya too pushed for a change of her regime to safeguard the interests of female citizens in India state. Carolina Maria de Jesus equally inspired many people through her Diary.



In the old days, women were less appreciated to take leadership positions in the community. Their ability was undermined and were associated with other activities such as house chores and home care. Therefore, their rights were less observed, and the female gender was less productive. Moreover, due to racism, the black women faced double strategy on color and gender discrimination. As a result, the antagonistic women fought for their rights through writing and creating women movements.  Through those platforms, they expressed their desires, grievances, and recommendations. In this essay, a discussion based on four historical writers will help in analyzing the experience of women in search for their freedom in the world.

The female artists include Emma Mashinini, Vera Brittain, Carolina Maria de Jesus, and Vijaya Pandit uses their talents exclusively to reinforce on the plight of life as well as different transitions in life that human beings are entitled. Most of their works dates back to their childhood experiences throughout their teenage, marriage, work experience, marriage life amongst other essential aspects of life. They reflect the current society characterized by humiliation and suffering either as fate or made by the surrounding environment or those in power. The authors symbolically represent the weak in the society who lack a voice to speak for themselves hence face humiliation, isolation, negligence, violence, brutality amongst other physical sufferings. They ideally communicate related issues, narrowing down to the following themes: Physical and psychological torture, complicated relationships, isolation, class differences, change, early marriage, and the breaking of the different spirit.

Physical Torture 

Emma Mashinini through her story depicts the suffering she underwent under the prison following her detention in the custody where she was jailed without charges inclusive of threats of death from South Africa government due to her activist initiatives. Equally, through her Diary Carolina Maria de Jesus, tells how her neighbors used to intermediate her. She recalls in one of the incidents when her male neighbor sexually molested her. This incidence shows the brutality the society exposes the innocent ones causing a lifetime trauma and suffering. Such instances when poorly controlled, they may cause permanent damage and deep-seated hatred that can succumb to mistrust. For example, Mashinini records that the turn of events that led to her marriage at 17 years old, as an experience deep rooted in her mind. Marriage is used as an oppression tool against women denying them a chance to be self-reliable and submit them to operate under their husbands mercies a vice makes some of the women live under oppression in fear of societal norms laid down by the different cultures and beliefs.

Class Differences  

The society is characterized by groupings regarding gender, beliefs, religion, geographical locations, language groups, nationality, and gender amongst other dimensions. All these elements make up a particular niche for identification purposes however if poorly harmonized; these elements emanate into harmful effects of isolation by power, wealth, political stands, economic abilities, and cultural ties that create enmity and misunderstanding. The well off in the society ignores the plight of the poor at their comfortability. Carolina Maria de Jesus states the importance of both the classes through the image Sao Paulo, a house where favela function bumps their garbage. This feature links the rich and the poor since they need each for their existence. Racial prejudice and segregation are also highlighted through Carolina's declaration when she states that faveladas failed to associate with the white people because they were presumed to be of a higher standard than the blacks were. Despite the much effort employed to create awareness through educative platforms, gender biases is an issue that still holds a position in our society segregating women by placing them as objects of less rank that their primary role is taking care of the welfare of the community.


Independence is an issue of concern dating from colonial error. Many people desire to be self-efficient regarding decisions and choices in life. Being independent therefore goes beyond speculations or imaginations but has to do with working out personal barriers as well as barriers from the surrounding to gain freedom. Having been exposed to the idea of a man withdrawing his support at any time, Mashinini developed the interest of being self-reliable. For instance, she says, “I am a complete person, and I resent being dominated by white people or any man or woman, for am a total person."Carolina enjoys her pride through her identity as she interacts with the Favelados. She strongly emanates and emerges strongly through her set of values that corresponds and guides her life despite many objections from her closest people. This sense of independence strongly grows and develops. As a result, her resolution of not trusting people and turns down marriage proposals from Manuel. Moreover, Vijaya Pandit an Indian diplomatic undergoes captivity unjustly. In her book Prison Days, she explains the anguish period she underwent. The experience is well revealed through the lowering of her humanity after her husband’s death. Moreover, upon the realization that the Indian law would not recognize her existence, pushed her into a struggle for her freedom preceding the belief that women could only be recognized through relating to men.

Blinded Leadership

 Vijaya Pandit ironically reveals the archaic Indian law that fails to recognize women but instead opt to represent them through men depriving women of their rights. This incidence is a blindfold mode of leadership that is used to win selfishly and oppress women in attempts to fight for their rights. Ideally, we expect the government to safeguard the interests of its citizens equally without discrimination based on gender. In contrary, the operational laws rules for the male were different. Surprisingly, some nations still hold these misconceptions up to date. For instance, in the Arab world, men dominates depriving women their power and chance to explore their talents and abilities. Carolina draws the government and church through her writing as bodies full of the negligence of the needs of the poor. Symbolically, she compares Brazilian president with a bird in a gilded cage ignorant of hungry cats. Such a description tells much about our leaders who live luxury lives at the expense of the citizens. Practically, due to weak leadership and governance, there is an economic crisis in most of third world countries due to corruption. 

As a result, the citizens suffer from increased prices of products outside their rich. Religion too misleads the congregation by offering wrong advice for instance Carolina says in one of the sermons the fave lads were advised to have more children. The role of religion is to shape and give directions but not to misguide people. We expect religious leaders to be the light in all their dealings however this is not the case. They equally have been blinded by the desire of wealth, power and recognition forfeiting their core goal of spreading g the good news and taking care of the less fortunate in the society as mandated by the Holy Scriptures.


Ambitiously, Vera expresses her expectations in spite of the environmental challenges she experienced during her young age. Her pursuit of knowledge through education drives her into objecting her parents and finally overcomes.  Carolina too mounts to higher altitudes of life through her writing career though she received many critics and finally came to recognition.  Despite the much she faced Carolina stayed true to her beliefs. She never allowed favela to influence her way of living in any way.  These authors suggest to us that there is need of staying focused when dealing with matters of great importance in life. Giving up is never an option to a person with ambitions and a dream to fulfill. Suggestively they propose that it does not matter however much one fails so long as one has a constraint spirit and motive, a better future is assured.

Breaking Against the Odds of Life

Breaking loose the societal norms, family backgrounds stereotypes and culture initiates a positive change. Practically, the authors engage in situations torment them limiting their growth and ability to cross the lane ahead of them. For instance, Emma Mashinini, Vera Brittain, and Carolina Maria de Jesus are surrounded by a cloud of poverty that exposes them to low living status full of challenges. They develop a positive attitude, accept their position and establish means to get them where they are. They are driven by an inner passion for success and change. Their fighting spirit latter creates a positive response making them triumph over their limits giving them an opportunity to speak to the current society through their art of writing.  Vijaya Pandit also breaks the Indian cultural belief of failing to recognize women, tactfully strategies and finally becomes victorious in the line of leadership and is elected the president of the state.  

Complicated Relationships

At one point during their life, the authors engaged in a love affair that never worked due to distrust. Concisely, this defines our society that is influenced by mistrust leading to strained relationships that eventually leads to heartbreaks leaving the parties involved in bitterness and regrets. The climax of it all ends in a divorce as it was in the case of Vijaya Pandit. When such instances happen, many tend to develop a negative attitude towards the opposite gender a condition that might be irreversible hence permanently develop phobia in relating with members of opposite sex.


Conclusively, from the authors, we draw valuable lessons such as being objective in life and fighting personal battles with determination. The authors bury their fears and limitations to their life circles. Moreover, they develop a new lifestyle that is fostered by exploring new environments as well as spheres of life. The end note of their dedication is defined by the tremendous success that comes their way delivering them from their background and beliefs from their society making them stand out as conquers of obstacles along their way.  Living under fear is the primary cause of failure in life that transcends into many problems that many people are struggling with recently. Similarly, just as the authors transcended their limitations, we are equally called into working tirelessly to overcome obstacles in our lives. Freedom is sweet, but it has its limits as stipulated in the laws of the state. This information means that once freedom is granted, one should be watchful lest he ends up in a state of regret that is never reversible in whatsoever manner.

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