Suppression has always been a tool of the powerful.
But understanding power dynamics is not as easy as this statement. Humans have reviled in stratification throughout their existence, and have always found traits to discriminate on. Gender, caste, class, race, religion, language…the list is endless. Perhaps that’s why the any piece of literature that shines a light on the spiteful dynamics of our societies is viewed with scorn, largely by the powerful.
Personally, this book touched a nerve because it focussed on an aspect of feminism which hasn’t generally been harped on by the mainstream, resulting in the false belief among people (largely people opposing it) that feminism only talks about female empowerment and gender equality The aspect that I am talking about is one of class identity and broadly intersectionality. Miller wonderfully reweaves a tale told to death into a haunting interpretation of intersectional discrimination. What got me thinking was the choice of protagonist. Circe is perhaps the best character from Greek mythology to demonstrate the sweeping effects of discrimination faced due to one’s different identities. Born as a lesser offspring of a Titan, she faced the worst of two horrible worlds. Gods and mortals alike looked down upon her because of her lack of powers, appearance, and gender. Her poignant self-discovery, albeit dramatic, is cathartic.
I also couldn’t stop wondering about the dimension of immortality that surrounded this tale. Human behaviour is largely predicated and driven by, either philosophically or religiously or both, by the ultimate acceptance of death. The finality of life in a poetic way largely influences the journey to this end. To that extent, depriving the sufferer of this was a witting masterstroke because it allowed for discovering a morality that exists independently of the life and death cycle. More importantly, it allows for a discovery of purpose and existence beyond the finite circle which mortals are stuck with.
Cross-posted at The Standing Coin