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Middlemarch Madness

Middlemarch Madness II: Voting Day Four

This is the last voting post for the week, tomorrow you’ll get to see who’s moving on and who we have to say an early goodbye to. Remember: it’s never a good idea to shoot the messenger. I’m not even voting. 

Today we’re matching up the fours vs. the thirteens and the twos vs. the fifteens. Here are the pairings:

4. Karana (Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell) vs. 13. Sara Crew (A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett)

2. Violete Baudelaire (The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Books 1-13) by Lemony Snickett) vs. 15. Margaret Simon (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume)

4. Matilda (Matilda by Roald Dahl) vs. 13. Sabriel (Sabriel (Abhorsen Trilogy) by Garth Nix)

2. Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter  series by J.K. Rowling) vs. 15. Tiffany Aching (The Wee Free Men  by Terry Pratchett)

4. Marjane (The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi) vs. 13. Hua Mulan (The Ballad of Mulan by Song Nan Zhang)

2. Lisbeth Salander (Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson) vs. 15. The women of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

4. Elphaba Thropp (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire) vs. 13. Lady Sybil Ramkin (Guards series by Terry Pratchett)

2. June/Offred (The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood) vs. 15. Vivianne (The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley)

Happy voting! See you right here tomorrow for the results of all this week’s polls!

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

26 replies on “Middlemarch Madness II: Voting Day Four”

Aside from my well-documented dislike of Offred, this is probably the voting day I have the least strong feelings about so far.  It’s kind of weird to be voting without the passionate “IF THIS CHARACTER DOES NOT WIN THIS MATCH-UP I WILL SOB INTO MY PILLOW AT NIGHT” feelings about any of the matches.

As much as I love Sara Crewe, I have to give it to Karana, just because she’s way more badass. I wrote a paper for a YA fiction class in undergrad on how Island of the Blue Dolphins can be read as a hugely radical anti-patriarchy piece, and it’s one of my favorite papers ever.

I haven’t read that particular version of The Ballad of Mulan, but I know that in the original version of the ballad, Mulan was actually an ideal girl according to Chinese notions of women’s roles. She took up the sword out of filial piety (because she had no brothers, and her father was too sick to fight). She was absolutely chaste and hid her femaleness while fighting, so there was no “impropriety.” And then once all was said and done, she refused all honors and returned home to once again serve her father.

Since before that, I had only seen the Disney movie Mulan, coming to that realization was incredibly heartbreaking.

Ahaha y’know, even then it didn’t really bother me. The gender roles, bad, yes, but I have very wishy washy literary ideas of the invisible strength that millions of women have but never get to unleash, and I always took the original story to be a silent acknowledgement of that hidden power.

Plus, Chinese legends are absolutely beautifully metaphoric. My favourite is the story of Altair and Vega;

A young cowherd falls in love with the seventh daughter of the Goddess, who has snuck down to earth looking for fun. They get married and have children and live happily. But the Goddess of Heaven is angry that the girl has fallen in love with a mortal, so she spirits the girl back to Heaven.

The cowherd mourns his lost wife, knowing not where she has disappeared to. But then his ox talks to her, and says he can find her in heaven if he kills the ox and wears his hide. So the cowherd sneaks (with his children) up to heaven to be with his wife. The Goddess again finds out, and is even angrier, so she takes her hairpin and scratches a wide river in the sky to seperate them – forming the Milky Way.

On one side the cowherd lives, taking care of their children, while the girl weaves colourful clouds on the other side of the river. But the magpies take pity on them, and on the seventh night of the seventh moon form a bridge for the two lovers to be together; Altair and Vega, who in late summer are high and close in the night sky.

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