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Sally Chivers provides a fascinating look at and challenge to how North American popular culture has portrayed old age as a time of disease, decline, and death. Within contemporary Canadian literary and film production, a tradition of articulate central elderly female characters challenges what the aging body has come to signify in a broader cultural context. Rather than seek positive images of aging, which can do their own prescriptive damage, the author focuses on constructive depictions that provide a basis on which to create new stories and readings of growing old. This type of humanities approach to the study of aging promises neither to fixate on nor avoid consideration of the role of the body in the much broader process of getting older. The progression implied in the title from the solitary symbol of The Old Woman toward a community of older women, indicates not a move toward euphemism, but rather an increasing and necessary awareness of the social and cultural dimensions of aging.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Preface: Old Age, Literature, and Potential
  2. pp. ix-xvi
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  1. Introduction: Situating Old Women: Fields of Inquiry
  2. pp. xvii-xlvii
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  1. 1. The Mirror Has Two Faces: Simone de Beauvoir's and Margaret Laurence's Ambivalent Representations
  2. pp. 1-32
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  1. 2. Generation Gaps and the Potential of Grandmotherhood
  2. pp. 33-56
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  1. 3. "Here, Every Minute Is Ninety Seconds": Fictional Perspectives on Nursing Home Care
  2. pp. 57-78
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  1. 4. "Living Life Seriatim": Friendship and Interdependence in Late-Life Fiction and Semifiction
  2. pp. 79-96
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 97-100
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 101-105
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 107-113
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 115-119
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