The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner

812 Words Jan 28th, 2018 3 Pages
Neither does the novel's true achievement lie in its artistic allegories, though Schreiner is commended for her mythological uses of South Africa's landscape (Marquard, 294), and for the meaningful "Hunter Tale" told by Waldo's stranger in the novel's center ("Politics of Power," 585). The most remarkable, complex aspect of the work has to be the way that it attempts to define gender norms for women, enlarging their potential role in society to equal the scope of a man's station. This facet of Schreiner's best-known book is the reason that she has become famous as, "a feminist who hated being a woman" (Showalter, 195), and the reason that African Farm has endured as an early feminist manifesto.

Like other novels written by women in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, Schreiner's book attempts to expose the precarious position in society in which women of the time found themselves. Schreiner does not have a single character embody all the roles and positions of women; using three women characters, Schreiner successfully captures the whole spectrum of possibility for women of the time. These three characters, with their different attitudes and relationships with men, embody Showalter's three stages of women novelists…