Women who Kill
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: The Feminist Press
Series: Contemporary Classics
Introduction to the Feminist Press Edition
Women Who Kill was first published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1980. It consisted of an introduction and six chapters. What is now a seventh and last chapter began as an afterword added at the request of the publisher of the first paperback edition, in 1981. He wanted me to write about a “sensational” homegrown story then monopolizing ...
Five years ago in a women’s literature seminar, a student depressed by reading The Awakening, The House of Mirth, and The Bell Jar, complained: “Isn’t there anything a woman can do but kill herself?” To lighten the mood I quipped, “She can always kill somebody else,” and realized in the instant that it was true. I have been working on this book ever since. It has caused embarrassment. Tell people you’re writing a book about ...
Introduction to the First Edition
Peachie was small enough to hide behind a potted plant. She could cover the patrons in the bank with her .22, and she couldn’t be seen from the street. But she couldn’t see the street either, so when she heard the door open she had to wait for George Morelock to walk to the center of the lobby into her line of vision. “Stop right there,” she said, and poked the gun at him when he turned and noticed her. But Morelock was hard ...
1. Foremothers: Divers Lewd Women
... by the garden entrance to the Palace of St. James’s for the returning carriage of King George III. In her gloved hands she carried a “memorial”—a written petition to the king—and, concealed beneath it, a long knife. The carriage arrived, the king descended, and Margaret Nicholson pressed forward to deliver her memorial and a stroke of ...
2. Domestic Atrocity
... and men stopped speaking to each other. Everyone noticed the odd silence, and European visitors remarked again and again on this conspicuous void at the heart of American society. One could always spot the foreign men at a party, they said, because they alone spoke to the married women. Except for these free agents, the men at any gathering clustered in conversation on one side of the room, the women sat in silent ...
3. Spoiling Maidens
The great mass of women were mere babes, children really, permanently simple and infantile, but on the whole rather charming. That at least is how the biologists explained the vast differences between men and women when science supplanted religion as Victorian gospel. As the nineteenth century waned, women and men seemed as distant ...
4. Laying Down the Law
Wendell Phillips to his fellowmen, and “therefore you must grant that woman may vote.” It was as simple as that. Either women were the peers and equals of men, and in that case should enjoy all civil and political rights equally with them, or women were (as men repeatedly maintained) an inferior caste; and in that case, any woman tried by a jury of men was automatically deprived of the right to trial by ...
5. Let That Be a Lesson
September 16, 1922, lying on his back under a crab apple tree in DeRussey’s Lane on the outskirts of New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was stretched out in apparent comfort with his Panama hat over his face and his calling card propped against his foot. On his right lay Eleanor Mills, with her head resting on the minister’s right hand, and her ...
6. Totaling Women
business college to her Dansville, Michigan, home and put a frozen dinner in the oven for her husband, James. He didn’t like it. Francine, he said, should be at home preparing meals for him, not running off to school. He beat her up, as he had done many times before; and to drive home his point he tore up her schoolbooks and term papers and forced her to burn them in the trash barrel. Twelve-year-old Christy ...
7. Women’s Rights and Wrongs
... Dr. Herman Tarnower in Purchase, New York, I was on vacation. Friends sent me the initial reports of the shooting, saying the case was right up my alley. When taken into police custody, Harris reportedly had “severe bruises on her face and arm”; and her attorney, Joel Aurnou, implied that she might have killed in self-defense. “We have not ruled out the possibility that Jean Harris might be a victim,” he said. ...