Canadian Short Stories Analysis

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For generations, Violence against women has been a grave cause for concern but it is only recently that women are beginning to stand up against violence such as sexual assault and molestation. The short stories “A Wednesday Circle” and “My heart is broken” give us an insight into our society merely a couple of decades ago and we see a large difference in how sexual violence was represented. Instead of it being characterized as a serious crime, it is deemed as something that should be kept secret and that the victim should be ashamed of discussing it. In addition, closed-knit communities consider these incidents of assault to be non-existent and foreign to their own soil and believe in a sanitized representation of sexual relations put forth by the media. A naive and ignorant society incapable of putting up a powerful defense for the victims in their own communities and families is clearly outlined in these stories. In the short story “My Heart is Broken”, many incorrect assumptions related to sexual assault are articulated by characters in the community. Mrs. Thompson immediately expresses that she holds Jeannie responsible for the incident of rape. She says, “I told you to keep away from men. I told you it would make trouble, all that being cute and dancing around”. Mrs. Thompson also blames Jeannie for Vern losing his job and says that Jeannie doesn’t appreciate Vern’s hard work and that she ruined his career by “doing a terrible thing”. This shows that Mrs. Thompson is extremely oblivious to the realities of sexual violence and that she fails to comprehend that Jeannie’s way of dressing or behaving is in no way an explanation for the trauma that she faced. Gallant emphasizes that as a woman, to be harmed does not mean that you will gain sympathy and understanding from the society around you or find support to defend yourself. Mr. Sherman expresses another myth, when he says “In my opinion, no man by his own self can rape a girl, so there were either two men...
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