"Women Who Survived" from Classical Mythology: Background information when reading Starling Days

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Starling Days

by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan X
Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2020, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 13, 2021, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

"Women Who Survived" from Classical Mythology

This article relates to Starling Days

In Starling Days, Mina mulls over an idea for an academic work that she dubs "The Women Who Survived." Her starting point is a list of female characters in classical mythology who survive the stories in which they appear. She observes that most women in Greek and Roman myths are ultimately killed or transformed in some way, and that few emerge "alive and intact." Below are four of the mythological survivors on her list.

Penelope

Painting of Penelope weaving surrounded by suitors Penelope is the wife of Odysseus, king of Ithaca. In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War, leaving Penelope in Ithaca with their son Telemachus. When Odysseus has not returned years after the war ended, he is presumed dead. Suitors swarm the palace hoping for Penelope's hand in marriage, and she buys time by telling them she will pick a new husband once she has finished weaving a shroud for Odysseus's father, Laertes. Every night she undoes the day's work in secret, so the shroud is never finished. When Odysseus finally returns ...

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