What is it about gardens and broken down homes that they are so readily included in women’s literature….chick-lit….chick-flicks?
When I read Alice Walker’s book of essays In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens, I was struck by the number of books I’ve read or movies I’ve seen around this theme: Wildflower Hill, The Forgotten Garden, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane , Under the Tuscan Sun (which I love) – to name a few.
Why is it that artists love to envision women bringing a barren piece of land to fruition? So many stories involve bringing a garden or an old home to life, and in doing so, a woman finds herself, or is healed and becomes whole. The female protagonist will hammer and dig her way to a new life.
I wonder why we love to associate these ideas with womanhood and with a woman who is lost?
Maybe it’s the romantic notion that women nurture life. Women give life. We take care of something fragile, meet its needs and allow it to flourish.
Maybe we’re so bad at taking care of ourselves, that the only way we can do it is when we trick our minds into believing that we’re taking care of something else and inadvertently, we end up taking care of ourselves (but, don’t tell us that – we’ll stop all the crazy refurbishing and planting immediately).
I wonder if our voices get so lost as we grow that we have to bang them out when we are adults? Regardless, it does seem to be a beautiful process of rebuilding oneself.
Do you love the imagery of a woman restoring herself by restoring a garden or an old home? What books have you read around this theme that you recommend?