|The Two Friends by Toulouse-Lautrec (1894)|
“Friendship is born at the moment, when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought than no one but myself…” C.S. Lewis, The Four Lovers
“What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.” Aristotle
“True friends are always together in spirit. (Anne Shirley)” L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I’ve been given the okay for my thesis topic: women’s friendship shown in literature. Specifically, I will be looking at positive friendships in contemporary literature that are not mean girl in spirit and can pass the Bechdel test (the novel has to have at least two female leads that talk about something other than men and getting a partner). I’m interested in how authors show intimacy and conflict between friends.
I’ve been given many recommendations of favorite girlfriends books to read that have been published after 1985. The books seem to cluster around: two friends, a group of friends, intergenerational friends and inter-racial/culture friends. I’ve also noticed that many of these books haven’t been given the nod to be called literature. In fact, not many books about women’s friendship have been given this nod. Yet, these books seem to land and stay on the NYTimes bestsellers list and many have become popular movies (i.e., The Help, Beaches, The Secret Life of Bees, Fried Green Tomatoes, Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Where the Heart Is). NOTE: This is my observation and I haven’t analyzed these books for elements of literature.
Over the next seven months, I’m going to share what I find about women’s friendships. It is my hope that what I write in my blog will help inspire my final essay. Brainstorming, I plan on looking at the topic from a historical standpoint: Emma and Jane Eyre’s friendship are worth looking at; reading what Virginal Woolf has to say and other female writers. Finally, I want to look at the spiritual aspect of friendship along with what psychology, feminist studies and sociology has to say.