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Brazilian Women Speak: Contemporary Life Stories

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Patai ( The Orwell Mystique: A Study in Male Ideology ), professor of women's studies and of Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts, interviewed Brazilian women in 1981 when that country's military dictatorship was in power. Here she gathers 20 diverse subjects ranging from Teresa, a black, 44-year-old laundress who says her job ``takes a lot out of you'' but ``is easier than working in the fields,'' and in a few words conveys much of her life's struggles, to Marta, a well-educated middle-class white who devotes abundant energy to complaining about her relationship with the maid. Having chosen a ``speaker-centered approach,'' Patai preserves the rhythm of each interviewee's voice, thus demonstrating the poetic qualities of these oral histories. Though of varied backgrounds, many of the women express similar concerns: the challenge of making their way in a patriarchal society; surviving a period of intense inflation and unemployment; raising children; obtaining adequate medical care. The introduction is thoughtful and exciting, exploring the implications of interviewing and storytelling, and alerting the reader to the beauty, the creative act, of speech. (October)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813513010
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1988
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction: Constructing a Self 1
1 Commitments
1 Sister Denise: "The People Live the Gospel" 39
2 Carolina: "My Life Was Mainly Helping Anyone Who Needed It" 63
3 Vera: "To Be Mother Only to Your Own Children--That's Very Little" 78
4 Angela: "In Spiritualism There's Real Equality" 109
2 Family Portrait
5 Norma: "I'm Not Just a Superwoman, I'm a Superman" 129
6 Glicia: "The Best Thing Is to Try to Live Well and Shut Up" 153
7 Doroteia: "Family Life Doesn't Exist Anymore" 165
3 "Women's Work"
8 Teresa: "Doing Laundry Is Easier Than Working in the Fields" 175
9 Carmen: "In the Backlands We Work Hard and Marry Young" 179
10 Maria Helena: "I Never Won Anything, Not the Lottery or Anything Else" 185
11 Marta: "When a Maid's in the House, I Lose Half My Freedom" 197
12 Conceicao: "The Rich Have Money and the Poor Have Love" 208
13 Sonia: "I Never Have Time to Sit Down" 213
4 Revolutionaries
14 Celia: "Our Comrade Has Some Petty-Bourgeols Deviations" 231
15 Madalena: "You're a Militant and Homosexual; Obviously There's a Problem" 248
5 Good Girls
16 Branca: "I Want So Little, So Very Little" 273
17 Alice: "I Just Want to Be a Good Girl" 285
6 Entrepreneurs
18 Ana Maria: "The More You Receive, the More You're Obliged to Give" 293
19 Lucia: "I'd Give Up Anything for Work" 313
20 Cristina: "What Did I Aspire To? What Was My Life?" 329
Notes 349
Postscript: The New Brazilian Constitution 385
Index 389
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