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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978 - Page 15. March 1978. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. October 23, 2019. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1189/show/1178.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(March 1978). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978 - Page 15. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1189/show/1178

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978 - Page 15, March 1978, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed October 23, 2019, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/1189/show/1178.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 3, No. 3, March 1978
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date March 1978
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 15
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File Name femin_201109_538n.jpg
Transcript Applesauce By June Arnold Daughters Publishing Co., Inc., 1977. 240 pages. $5.00. By Beth Rigel Daugherty For a crash course on how much our perceptions of women have changed over a decade, try re-reading June Arnold's Applesauce; then, go back and look over the book's first reviews. In 1967, one critic described Liza Dur- ach, the heroine, as "intense, miserable, self-centered, and unpleasant." Other critics called her "disorganized, undisciplined, and unappealing," passed on her traits to the novel and dismissed it. In 1978, Applesauce still reflects the traits of its heroine, but the perception of those traits has changed. Today, to this writer, the heroine seems fairly honest, not the least unpleasant, as she expresses anger and frustration with her prescribed roles. Today, she seems determined, hardly disorganized, as she tries to find her real self. Arnold's serious attempt to portray the complexities of women puts her novel in the mainstream of feminist fiction. We briefly meet Liza Duarch at the opening of the novel and again on the final page. In between we meet Eloise the swinger, Rebecca the intellectual, and Lila the earth mother, who seem to be different women, but who are actually the roles Liza adopts, plays out, and, eventually, destroys. And we follow Gus in his role as the "husband" of Eloise, Rebecca and Lila. Gus acts as Liza's male alter ego, giving the novel an androgynous theme. All of the roles projected by Liza operate on a fantasy level. But many of the experiences within each role are realistic. This allows Arnold to write about the everyday details of a particular woman's life, and at the same time explore the concept of the self and the strait jacket of sex roles. The author herself says that Applesauce has to do with being defined as "a member of a sex." She says, "there is a basic conflict between any social (outside) definition and our inside definition , in the desire to create ourselves." An odd double vision pervades the novel as a result of these opposing definitions. Arnold's sharp eye for detail in the "outside" definitions of her characters create shocks of recognition in the reader and provide acute insights into psychological violence. Her inside definitions— the concern for how a woman creates a self—produce the effect of blurred edges. All the roles, names, faces and themes float around in a bowl of applesauce. This metaphor of "applesauce" or the ambiguity and blurring of sex roles is expanded in Rebecca's description of Creation. She calls the book of Genesis "God's simplification": "It's that sentence in Genesis that causes all the trouble. You know: male and female created He them. He didn't do that; we all started off ambiguous in the slime. Why does he want to make us feel guilty now about feeling ambiguous sometimes still?...The man who wrote that was scared—that it wasn't so. He was confused, so he made a god who would simplify: Me male, you female...it's a hell of a lot simpler than having people who switch back and forth from male to female all the time and you never know which they are." The fantasy level of Arnold's fiction allows her to question society's sex roles, and the strength of the novel stems from this experiment. Liza's first encounter with a boy, who sees her as only a sexual being, is a poignant example. The juxtaposition of two running scenes tells the story. In the first, Liza runs in "graceful controlled leaps, heels up," past houses where other people sleep, "clenched tight against alarm clocks." As the boy stares at her, however, Liza begins to feel awkward. In the second scene, she becomes Liza, the lusted-after. "So that was who she was. Judy Two-Breast...her breasts had grown to monstrous melons and flapped across her path as she ran." On the realistic level, Arnold expresses feelings clearly. She captures Eloise's feelings of constraint within her role as a girl when Gus says, "for a dozen years of her life she'd been left alone, to spread unnoticed over the land...And then she became female and had to wear dresses...dresses closeted her and confined her into the standard girl-mold. . ." Or when Gus expresses his desire for control over Lila, "I simply don't know how to deal with you. I mean, the absolutely only thing anyone can do with you is accept you. Can you possibly imagine how impossible that is?" Arnold was probably ahead of her time with Applesauce in the sixties. A mother's ambivalence toward her children, mechanically induced orgasms and the conflict of roles within any one female sex role were not discussed in the popular press as they are now. On the other hand, Applesauce in 1978 may seem slightly behind the times. What comes after rebirth? How does a new self live, work and play? However, I am quibbling with Arnold's intent, which was to portray the struggle, not the living out, of authentic selfhood. Arnold explores body, head and emotions, large feminist concerns and the desire for freedom and security. Her ability to expose and gently jab at our foibles combines with her love for language to form a*|ripping no^el in which women will see themselves. Applesauce is neither a nice, easy book to curl up with nor the greatest novel since World War II. It is a novel which is hard to put down, and once finished, hard to quit thinking about. It perceptively studies the task of womanbeing— and that is a recommendation in itself. cont. from P 11 as the animus and the anima respectively. Jung blamed the negative animus for the unpleasant, "unfeminine" personality traits in some women—aggressiveness, stubbornness and competitiveness. Singer insists that Jung's observations were colored by his experiences with his patients who had repressed their contrasexual side for so long that when these repressed traits did arise, they burst forth in a negative way. In a new environment, with a new perspective, and with acknowledged impetus from the women's movement, Jung's student is able to move beyond these societal barriers in her search for a new way of looking at sexuality. Singer embarks on her own journey with a step backwards into the past to find the mythological originsof androgyny and the sources of the fissure that has since split humankind into two beings instead of the original unified One. She returns to the myths that early civilizations used to explain their world, especially the creation myths. From about 4000 to 2000 B. C, there was a preponderance of matriarchal societies and a corresponding abundance of feminine and androgynous creation myths. One of these mythologems is that of the Great Mother, who as Ishtar, Rhea, Isis or any of her other varied identities, created and ruled over the universe. So powerful was she that any time a race of men sought to assert their identity and independence, her image had to be suppressed, defeated or destroyed. This destruction of the goddess in ancient myth is the first step toward the subordination of the female principle, and has been systematically carried out in the several thousand years since then. As her "sons" rebelled more and rriore frequently against her, the Great Mother or the feminine principle was expressed in more radical and militant myths (the Amazons and the Maenads, for example) in an attempt to maintain her sovereignty. These Amazon figures, as Singer points out, are characteristic of transition periods between two cultural epochs. Finally, by the Late Bronze Age, the feminine principle was sufficiently suppressed to allow patriarchy to take hold as a cultural dominant, a hold which has yet to be relinquished. From here, Singer goes on to expose the suppression of the feminine in the creation myth of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The Age of Aries (2000 years before the birth of Christ) provided the background for the myth of male superiority through the many legends of the patriarchy of men under the fatherhood of God. In the land of Canaan, the Hebrew God was related to the young male gods who were conquering female goddesses in the Near East. Singer explains that by the sixth century B. C, when the book of Genesis was codified, the Hebrews' sense of their own identity and of the identity and su premacy of their God lead them to deny the existence of all other gods and goddesses. Consequently, in writing their sacred document, the Hebrew scribes eliminated anything that could undermine the sovereignty of the One-God, and this included all references to androgynous creation or a God-Goddess supreme being. Also, fertility goddesses were still being worshipped in the agricultural societies the Hebrews encountered, which necessitated their challenging the matriarchal authority with the patriarchal principle. Singer devotes a chapter to the Judeo- Christian myth of Adam and Eve. Her research reveals two versions of the Adam and Eve myth within the book of Genesis —in the first chapter Adam and Eve are created simultaneously, while in the second chapter, Eve is born of Adam. According to Singer, the Adam of the second chapter of Genesis is the source of the "male-superior" version of the relationship of men and women which has prevailed for several thousand years. As she describes it, "it was the cultural norm which created the Adam in whom Eve slumbered, unrecognized, unvalued, until she was needed to help the man and to sweeten him out of his loneliness." From these explorations of the past, Singer returns to the present which she sees as a time of great promise. As she sees it, the Age of Pisces (the last 2000 years) was the age of polarities, of dichotomies that split our psyches into mechanical/ mystical, rational/intuitive, and male/female. The emerging Age of Aquarius, she believes, will be more accurately the Age of Androgyny, an era in which science and spirit will end their feud with each other, and the masculine and feminine energies within each individual will no longer battle for superiority but will flow together within each person. This movement toward androgyny has already begun, she says, in the growing number of scientists who now recognize the need for another kind of knowing in the search for answers to life's mysteries. She finds further evidence of this movement in the shift from Newtonian physics with its mechanistic view of the universe which encourages "breaking apart" and excessive objectivity, to the more holistic "systems" theory which views the universe as consistent, coherent and whole. As she puts it: "We must look toward a whole new way of being where we are concerned. . with energetic relationships among people and between people and their global environment. The key to the new concious- ness is the capacity to feel oneself in the flow, in process, and to focus on the dynamic interchange of energy that goes on continually in the open system to whichi we belong. . .We need to think of ourselves no longer as exclusively "masculine" or "feminine" but rather as whole beings in whom the opposite qualities are ever-present." June Singer has written a compelling and provocative book in Androgyny. Her knowledge of psychology, physics, history and religion is impressive, but even more impressive is the soundness of her theories and the intensity of her vision. She offers both her theories and her vision as a challenge to theorists who will follow her and to each person who reads her words. There is a way to feel at ease with ourselves and with our world, she says-all we have to do is look within. Page 14 HOUSTON BREAKTHROUGH March 1978