A Response to Embroidery by Ray Bradbury
The short story 'Embroidery', written by Ray Bradbury is one, which
could be classed as a science fiction story with some political
aspects to it. 'Embroidery' ends in apocalyptic terms, where an atom
bomb is dropped. Written in the 1960's meant that the cold war was
still going on and being hit by an atomic bomb was highly possible. I
think that because of this a general reader reading this story in the
time it was written would have found this story frightening and at
that time the story may haven even been slightly controversial.
From a feminists point of view this text would be looked upon with
quite a lot of interest. Firstly, the short story was written by Ray
Bradbury, a male, and so a feminist reader may find it interesting how
women are portrayed in the story compared to the men. The text
primarily deals with a group of elderly women, who seem to be acting
out their normal daily rituals, 'shelling peas' and preparing dinner,
activities, which are normally associated with the stereotypical
housewife. However, in this instance, these women seem to be
independent, a trait which might be admired by a feminist reader.
Throughout the story it could be concluded that these women are
widows, however the women's personal situation is not really delved
into. They are left nameless, unspecific without any personal
background or information of themselves, the story merely presents a
situation which I think was done to allow the reader to associate
themselves with the characters in the story for example a feminist
reader with one of the independent elderly women.
Another aspect, which may interest feminist readers, is the
embroidery, which is constructed by one of the women. It pictures the
perfect household, equipped with a 'a green field, brown road,' and
embroidered 'pink house.' There is also a male character sewn into the
embroidery that is described to have something 'wrong with his face.'
This male character is the imperfection in the scene, destroying its
simple and childlike preservation. "I'll just have to rip the whole
pattern, practically, to fix it right." The man is ripped out entirely
from the scene, rather then just having his face corrected. This could
signify women's everlasting struggle with men, and also on a more
gender equality related issue, how these women are in control of the
men in their lives, choosing not to have them at all, implying that
men are an almost annoyance to women and they would much rather have
them out of their lives then have them as they are. These women seem
to be living fine as they are however their situation is hardly the
scene pictured in the embroidery.
A feminist reader may dislike this story because firstly, the women in
the story could be though of as stereotypical. The embroidery...