SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from The Second Sex (1403-14).

From The Second Sex

1. On 1406-09, what is the myth of the Eternal Feminine, as de Beauvoir articulates it? How does it strip women of their own sense of integrity and accomplishment?

2. On 1409-11, to what use does de Beauvoir say male-oriented societies have put this myth about women? What existentialist point does she make about defining humanity? What further insights does she offer about the alleged source of the mysteriousness imputed to women?

3. On 1412-13, how, according to de Beauvoir, has literature dealt with the representation of women? In what sense are Stendhal and Hemingway less culpable than many male authors in their portrayals of female characters?

4. On 1414, does de Beauvoir seem hopeful about our achieving the kind of gender relations she believes best? The last page or so of the selection may provide some material here. Also, given that de Beauvoir wrote The Second Sex over half a century ago, would you say that there has been a significant improvement in the way men and women relate to one another?

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN: 0393974294.