Gender Issues and Sexuality in Marge Piercy's "Sex Wars" Essay

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Sex Wars; a title provocative enough to garner not only a second look when encountered on an overcrowded bookshelf, but undoubtedly a perfunctory lift from the shelf and a superficial perusal. If you do delve deeper into the novel by Marge Piercy you come to see that Sex alludes to gender and the relationship between men and women; not just the act. War denotes power, agency; a struggle to gain it, fought in our own cities not on some far off shores. It isn't peculiar that Marge Piercy would devote over four hundred pages to such a struggle. A prolific author of poetry, fiction and non; Piercy, a staunch feminist, always "examines women's roles, especially those traditionally relegated to men." in her work. (Unknown) Sex Wars does that as…show more content…
It was not until the twenty-seventh of forty-five chapters when the lives of the characters began to intertwine and the story as a whole began to take shape. By that time, the suspense had turned to longing and had begun to feel burdensome. The setting was analogical genius. Just as American society was reconstructing it's values and identity after the civil war and with the rise of the industrial revolution, so was each character. Victoria Woodhull, born into a transient poverty-stricken criminal family, envisioned, planned and executed a life of wealth and respectability for herself. Freydeh Levin, disadvantaged in wealth, heritage, familiar ties and with limited means of supporting herself carved out a niche in an oppressive society in which she not only thrived financially but created a much longed for family. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the ideal of the time; a devoted wife and mother. Although she has attained such status she envisioned and worked for more for herself and all women, renovating society and herself. Even Anthony Comstock, the true ideal of the time: male, national and ambitious is fueled to restructure society and by doing so transforms himself. Although each personality differed greatly, they all shared the struggle against the society of their time and their success at re-shaping themselves and subsequently society, on their own terms; therein lies the theme. In a novel so

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