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Book Review for University Students

BRUS Books that you most likely will find in your academic plan

Economic Realities: 'Evicted' by Matthew Desmond [Book Review]


landscape of economic realities as poignantly as Matthew Desmond's "Evicted." For students navigating the intricacies of academia and the broader world, delving into the nuanced dimensions of economic struggles presented in this revelatory narrative is of paramount importance.

"Evicted" transcends the conventional definition of a book; it embarks on a narrative odyssey through the lives of individuals contending with the harsh truths of housing insecurity and eviction in America. Matthew Desmond, a distinguished sociologist and recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant, immerses readers into the experiences of Milwaukee families, unraveling the complex web of poverty, discrimination, and systemic failures that contribute to the widespread issue of eviction.

Why should students engage with the economic realities presented in "Evicted"? Beyond its literary merit, the book serves as a mirror reflecting society's inequities. It challenges us to confront the systemic barriers that perpetuate housing instability and economic disparities. By understanding these issues, students gain a nuanced perspective on the social fabric they are part of and are better equipped to contribute to positive change.

At its core, the thesis of our exploration is to not only understand but also address the challenges unveiled in "Evicted." This involves a comprehensive examination that spans housing insecurity, eviction trends, policy implications, academic insights, educational impact, and the human stories behind the statistics.

The enormity of the housing crisis is profound, as families find themselves ensnared in an unyielding struggle, contending with the harsh truth that securing a place to call home is becoming increasingly elusive. Economic disparities and soaring housing costs create a perfect storm, leaving many on the brink of homelessness. The socioeconomic dynamics driving insecurity further compound the challenges faced by vulnerable populations.

Analyzing eviction rates unveils a harsh truth: eviction is not a rare occurrence but a pervasive issue affecting countless lives. By identifying vulnerable demographics, we uncover the disproportionate impact on marginalized communities. These patterns are not random; they are systemic, rooted in historical injustices and economic inequalities.

Examining the current legislative landscape reveals shortcomings that contribute to economic realities depicted in "Evicted." Policymakers and advocacy groups play a pivotal role in addressing these failures. Strengthening tenant protections, advocating for affordable housing initiatives, and fostering community-based solutions are essential steps toward mitigating the crisis.

For students pursuing academic excellence, "Evicted" offers a rich tapestry of economic theories on housing markets and sociological perspectives on eviction. The intersectionality of economic realities is a crucial aspect, highlighting the interconnected nature of poverty, discrimination, and housing instability. Research findings from "Evicted" serve as a valuable resource for scholars seeking to deepen their understanding of these complex issues.

Integrating "Evicted" into curricula is not just an academic exercise; it's a commitment to fostering empathy and social awareness. Addressing economic realities in educational settings empowers students to grasp the real-world implications of economic disparities. Through case studies and classroom discussions, students can apply theoretical knowledge to practical solutions.

The heart of "Evicted" lies in its human stories. Personal narratives bring statistics to life, making the economic realities tangible. Connecting these realities to everyday lives fosters empathy and fuels the engine of social change, urging us to confront the challenges faced by our fellow citizens and inspiring collective action for a more just society.

In navigating the economic realities unveiled in "Evicted," students are not just passive observers; they are active participants in shaping a more equitable future. This journey of book is a call to action, urging each student to contribute to the ongoing narrative of positive change.

In concluding our exploration, we find that "Evicted" serves as a powerful lens through which to examine the intricate web of economic challenges, housing insecurities, and policy failures. This book has unveiled the stark realities faced by individuals and families, urging policymakers, academics, educators, and the general public to engage in informed conversations and collaborative solutions. From the human narratives that breathe life into statistics to the call for empathy and actionable change, the text underscores the importance of understanding and addressing the systemic issues highlighted in "Evicted."


Desmond, M. (2016). Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Crown Publishers.

Green Horizons: Exploring Sustainability Narratives in Modern Environmental Literature through the Lens of Barbara Kingsolver's Works


In the vast expanse of modern literature, the relevance of environmental themes has become increasingly paramount. As our world grapples with unprecedented environmental challenges, literature emerges as a powerful medium for exploring, understanding, and shaping our perspectives on sustainability. This exploration takes us on a journey through the intricate narratives of environmental literature, with a keen focus on the works of Barbara Kingsolver and the profound lens they provide.

Central to this literary exploration lies an investigation into environmental literature, a genre that has transformed over time to grapple with the pressing challenges of our contemporary environmental landscape. Authors within this genre employ eloquent prose and poignant narratives, aiming to transcend the boundaries between humanity and the environment. More than a mere reflection of our changing relationship with the natural world, environmental literature acts as a catalyst, propelling efforts to heighten awareness and cultivate a profound connection with our planet.

Moving from the broader landscape of environmental literature, our attention turns to the critical analysis of sustainability narratives within the context of modern literature. Sustainability narratives play a pivotal role in shaping environmental consciousness, presenting diverse perspectives on our relationship with the planet. This critical examination provides insight into how literature contributes to the ongoing dialogue surrounding sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Barbara Kingsolver, a luminary in the intersection of literature and environmentalism, takes center stage in our exploration. Her notable works, including "The Poisonwood Bible," "Prodigal Summer," and "Flight Behavior," serve as a testament to her ability to weave compelling stories while addressing complex environmental themes. Kingsolver's unique approach captivates readers, drawing them into narratives that transcend the pages of a book and resonate with the challenges our planet faces.

As we delve deeper into Kingsolver's works, a rich tapestry of recurring themes, symbols, and motifs related to environmental sustainability unfolds. Through her storytelling, Kingsolver provides a lens into contemporary sustainability narratives, inviting readers to reflect on the intricate connections between humanity and the natural world. Her narratives serve as a catalyst for raising awareness about pressing environmental issues, fostering a sense of responsibility and urgency.

Beyond the storytelling lies a nuanced literary analysis of Kingsolver's techniques and strategies. From intricate narrative structures to nuanced character development and symbolism, Kingsolver navigates the complexities of environmental issues with finesse. This literary analysis unveils the artistry behind her words and the deliberate choices that contribute to the resonance of her environmental narratives.

To contextualize Kingsolver's contribution, a comparative analysis with other contemporary environmental authors is imperative. Examining the commonalities and differences in the portrayal of environmental themes across literary landscapes offers a holistic understanding of the diverse ways authors engage with sustainability narratives.

By juxtaposing Kingsolver's works with those of her peers, such as the works of Richard Powers, Margaret Atwood, and David Wallace-Wells, we gain a nuanced understanding of the varied approaches and perspectives within the genre. Richard Powers, known for his intricate narratives like "The Overstory," brings a deep ecological consciousness to his storytelling, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all living things. Margaret Atwood, in works like "MaddAddam," explores dystopian landscapes shaped by environmental degradation and human intervention. David Wallace-Wells, through his non-fiction work "The Uninhabitable Earth," offers a stark examination of the potential consequences of climate change. Through this comparative lens, we discern common threads and divergent paths in the portrayal of environmental themes, enriching our exploration and highlighting the diversity of voices contributing to the global discourse on sustainability.

Cultural perspectives on sustainability in literature further enrich our exploration. By delving into how different cultures are represented in sustainability narratives, we gain insight into the diversity of voices contributing to the global conversation on environmental stewardship. The role of literature in shaping cultural perspectives becomes evident, emphasizing the need for inclusive narratives that transcend geographical boundaries.

The implications of environmental literature, particularly works by Kingsolver, on readers' awareness and attitudes toward sustainability are a key consideration. These narratives have the potential to inspire action, fostering a collective responsibility for the well-being of our planet. The broader societal implications underscore the power of literature as a catalyst for positive change in environmental values.

In conclusion, the significance of sustainability narratives in modern environmental literature, exemplified through the lens of Barbara Kingsolver's works, becomes abundantly clear. The ongoing relevance of these narratives urges us to continue exploring, questioning, and evolving our understanding of humanity's place in the intricate web of life.

Let this exploration serve as an invitation to traverse the green horizons of environmental literature, guided by the insightful lens of Barbara Kingsolver's timeless works. May our collective journey into sustainability narratives contribute to a richer, more conscientious relationship with the environment we call home.


Kingsolver, B. (1998). The Poisonwood Bible. Harper Perennial.
Kingsolver, B. (2000). Prodigal Summer. HarperCollins.
Kingsolver, B. (2012). Flight Behavior. HarperCollins.
Powers, R. (2018). The Overstory. W.W. Norton & Company.
Wallace-Wells, D. (2019). The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. Tim Duggan Books.

The Power of Narrative: 'Sapiens' by Yuval Noah Harari Revisited [Book Review]


Delving into the intricate narrative of Yuval Noah Harari's 'Sapiens' is a captivating journey through time, ideas, and the essence of humanity. Revisiting this intellectual odyssey isn't merely an examination of a book; it's a unraveling of the layers that shape our understanding of the human experience.

'Sapiens' by Harari stands as a testament to the compelling force of storytelling. Readers aren't passive observers but active participants in the grand narrative of human history. Harari's narrative skill lies not just in presenting facts but in skillfully weaving historical events, philosophical reflections, and the delicate dance between the past and present.

The themes and ideas that emerge from 'Sapiens' create a mosaic of human existence. Harari guides us through the Cognitive Revolution, the Agricultural Revolution, and beyond, defining our species through epochs. The impact of the book transcends the intellectual realm; it resonates in the collective consciousness, provoking contemplation on the intricacies of our shared past.

Harari's storytelling approach is as unique as the narrative he constructs. His background in history and interdisciplinary perspective enrich the text beyond conventional boundaries. Navigating the historical and philosophical dimensions of 'Sapiens,' we encounter more than a chronicle of events; it's a profound exploration of the human condition.

The historical accuracy and depth of 'Sapiens' invite scrutiny, enhancing the brilliance of the book. Harari's meticulous research unfolds the canvas of the past, creating a tapestry where historical accuracy seamlessly merges with philosophical inquiry. The insights challenge us to question ancient truths' relevance in our contemporary lives.

At the core of 'Sapiens' lies the power of narrative. Harari adeptly uses storytelling as a conduit for making complex historical and philosophical concepts accessible. The narrative transports readers beyond the barriers of time and space, providing insights into human evolution, societal structures, and our existence.

Revisiting 'Sapiens' isn't retracing familiar paths but a journey into nuances and subtleties missed on the first encounter. The motivation is rooted in acknowledging that each reading unveils new layers of understanding. Revisiting allows us to discover nuances previously overlooked, gaining fresh perspectives that enrich our intellectual landscape.

For students, 'Sapiens' isn't just a historical account; it's a gateway to profound insights. Its educational value lies in igniting critical thinking, challenging students to question assumptions, analyze societal structures, and contemplate historical events' implications on the contemporary world.

No literary exploration is complete without a critical lens. 'Sapiens' isn't exempt from scrutiny, and Harari welcomes it. A balanced critique reveals both strengths and potential limitations. The captivating narrative, while compelling, occasionally walks the fine line between historical interpretation and speculation. The discerning reader finds the nuanced interplay between fact and interpretation in specific chapters or sections.

The cultural relevance of 'Sapiens' extends beyond academia. Harari's exploration of cultural evolution and the impact of stories on societal structures has direct implications for contemporary cultural conversations. As we navigate the global landscape, 'Sapiens' offers a lens to examine our shared human experience.

In conclusion, revisiting 'Sapiens' is a journey into the heart of narrative power. Summarizing the key points isn't concluding a review but an invitation for readers to embark on their exploration. Encouraging discussion isn't merely an invitation; it's a recognition that the power of narrative extends beyond the book's pages—it resides in dialogue, the exchange of ideas, and the perpetual quest for understanding.


Harari, Y. N. (2014). Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Mindful Leadership: Unpacking 'Dare to Lead' by Brené Brown [Book Review]


In the expansive realm of leadership literature, Brené Brown stands as a transformative force, reshaping conventional notions with her seminal work, 'Dare to Lead.' This profound exploration of vulnerability, courage, and their intricate ties to effective leadership prompts us to embark on a comprehensive analysis of mindful leadership as articulated by Brown.

As we delve into the tapestry of Brown's insights, it becomes evident that her contributions extend beyond the theoretical realms of leadership theory. 'Dare to Lead' isn't just a book; it's a manifesto that beckons leaders to redefine their roles fundamentally.

Brown's distinct approach is akin to an intellectual alchemy, where rigorous research seamlessly intertwines with the art of storytelling. It is this fusion that sets her apart in the realm of leadership literature. Her academic acumen, honed through years of vulnerability research, forms the bedrock of her insights. Yet, it is her ability to weave these scholarly findings into narratives that resonate with individuals at a visceral level that elevates her work to a transformative level. The roots of her approach in social work provide a grounded perspective, ensuring that her theories aren't confined to abstract ideals but are deeply connected to the intricacies of human relationships and societal structures. As we navigate 'Dare to Lead,' we witness not just a discourse on leadership but an immersion into the very essence of what it means to lead with authenticity and courage.

Brené Brown, distinguished for her prowess in vulnerability research and storytelling, brings a unique blend of academic rigor and relatable narratives to the forefront. Rooted in social work, her journey into vulnerability, courage, and leadership reflects a profound understanding of human dynamics. 'Dare to Lead' transcends the boundaries of a traditional leadership book; it is a manifesto for a paradigm shift in leadership philosophy.

Published in 2018, 'Dare to Lead' emerges at a juncture where traditional leadership models face scrutiny. Brown's deviation from the norm positions her work as a guiding light for those seeking authenticity in leadership. The book's significance and reception in leadership literature underscore the timeliness of its insights.

The reception of 'Dare to Lead' in leadership literature is akin to a resonant chord struck at the heart of prevailing leadership paradigms. Its significance goes beyond being a mere addition to the myriad of leadership books; it marks a shift in the collective consciousness of leaders and aspiring leaders alike. Brown's work has become a touchstone, prompting introspection and challenging individuals to reassess their leadership styles in light of vulnerability, courage, and authentic connection. As the echoes of 'Dare to Lead' reverberate in academic circles, boardrooms, and leadership development programs, it amplifies the call for a more nuanced, empathetic, and genuine approach to leadership.

Brown's approach is a departure from the stoicism often associated with leadership. She advocates for leaders to embrace vulnerability and empathy as integral components of their leadership style. 'Dare to Lead' unfolds as a canvas where vulnerability and courage coalesce, redefining what it means to lead authentically.

The essence of Brown's thesis lies in the concept of vulnerability – a term often shunned in traditional leadership discourse. In 'Dare to Lead,' vulnerability is not portrayed as a weakness but as the essence of true courage. Brown contends that true courage emanates from embracing vulnerability, fostering a culture where leaders can authentically show up, flaws and all.
This juxtaposition of vulnerability and courage forms the crux of Brown's philosophy. Leaders, burdened by the expectation of invincibility, are encouraged to acknowledge their vulnerabilities. The vulnerability of a leader, paradoxically, becomes a source of strength, forging deeper connections with team members and fostering a culture of openness.

'Rising Strong,' intricately woven into the fabric of 'Dare to Lead,' propels leaders to navigate setbacks with resilience. Brown argues that effective leaders are those who can rise stronger from challenges, leveraging vulnerability as a catalyst for growth. The book becomes a guide for leaders to transform adversity into a stepping stone toward greater resilience.

The process of 'Rising Strong' is not just about bouncing back from failures but about embracing vulnerability in the midst of challenges. It involves reckoning with emotions, rumbling with discomfort, and revolutionizing the narrative surrounding failures. In doing so, leaders cultivate personal resilience and set the tone for a resilient organizational culture.

As we navigate the landscape of 'Dare to Lead,' a critical analysis becomes imperative. Brown's exploration of vulnerability and courage undoubtedly injects a fresh perspective into leadership literature. However, scrutiny is necessary to acknowledge potential limitations. While the emphasis on vulnerability is a commendable departure from traditional leadership literature, the practical implementation of such ideas faces hurdles in certain organizational contexts. Corporate cultures often entrenched in a pursuit of control and certainty may find the embrace of vulnerability challenging. Leaders, accustomed to projecting an image of invincibility, might hesitate to expose their authentic selves, fearing judgment or perceived weakness. It's crucial to recognize that the successful application of vulnerability requires not only individual leaders' commitment but also a broader cultural shift within organizations.

Moreover, the universal applicability of vulnerability as advocated by Brown may encounter resistance based on organizational structures, industry norms, and prevailing leadership styles. What proves transformative in one setting might face skepticism or resistance in another. While vulnerability can foster authenticity and connection, its efficacy may vary, making it imperative for leaders to discern its nuanced application. Brown's call for vulnerability demands reflection on how organizational cultures can evolve to embrace openness without compromising professionalism. In this critical analysis, we navigate the delicate balance between the aspirational ideals presented in 'Dare to Lead' and the pragmatic considerations inherent in diverse organizational landscapes.

The practical application of vulnerability in organizational settings, while compelling in theory, may encounter resistance in corporate cultures unaccustomed to such openness.

The corporate world, often entrenched in a culture of control and certainty, may find the embrace of vulnerability challenging. Leaders may hesitate to expose their authentic selves, fearing judgment or perceived weakness. It becomes essential to recognize that the successful application of vulnerability requires not only individual leaders' commitment but also a broader cultural shift within organizations.

Moreover, the potential for vulnerability to be misconstrued or manipulated in certain organizational contexts raises questions about its universal applicability. While vulnerability can foster authenticity and connection, its efficacy may vary based on organizational structures, industry norms, and leadership styles.

In conclusion, 'Dare to Lead' by Brené Brown transcends the boundaries of a conventional leadership book. It emerges not merely as a guide but as a manifesto for a paradigm shift in leadership philosophy. The journey through its pages is an odyssey into the essence of authentic and mindful leadership.

The transformative insights offered by Brown invite leaders to chart a course towards vulnerability, courage, and, ultimately, transformative leadership. As we reflect on the profound implications of 'Dare to Lead,' we recognize the potential for a seismic shift in how leaders perceive and practice their roles.

The intellectual voyage curated by Brown resonates far beyond the confines of traditional leadership literature. It is an invitation to leaders to embrace vulnerability, not as a sign of weakness, but as a wellspring of courage. 'Dare to Lead' is a call to action, urging leaders to navigate the complexities of modern leadership with authenticity, resilience, and a profound understanding of the power of vulnerability.


Brown, Brené. Dare to Lead. Random House, 2018.

The Comparative Analysis of The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare and Lysistrata by Aristophanes


Throughout the history of human civilization, society has always assigned women roles subordinate to men. Under patriarchal social structures, women are often regarded as inferior compared to men and, consequently, subjected to social prejudice, mistreatment, and inequalities. For instance, the value systems of most traditional societies required women to show modesty, submissiveness, and obedience to men. Thus, women lived under the authority of men with the latter using their social perch to dominate and exploit women. One way through which women were exploited was the objectification of their bodies by treating them as sexual objects for the satisfaction of men’s desires. Thus, women were valued in terms of their beauty, the extent to which their physical endowment aroused men’s sexual fancies. Not surprisingly, therefore, Elizabethan literature written in a period when patriarchy was dominant portrays the exploitative way in which women were treated in traditional societies. In The Taming of the Shrew, William Shakespeare portrays the position that women held in medieval England. Women were regarded as properties to be owned and used by men as they pleased. However, since the ability of a man to dominate a woman’s life was very important to men, assertive and independently thinking women, pejoratively referred to as “shrews,” were often despised and ignored by potential suitors. Consequently, societal values promoted the subjugation of women’s rights by allowing men to mistreat their women in the name of “taming” them, which simply involved the use of violence to control women. As a part of this “taming” process, women were denied access to better education because it would empower them and threaten male domination. In Lysistrata, Aristophanes portrays the condition of women in Greek’s ancient Athenian and Spartan societies. However, unlike the total triumph of patriarchy portrayed in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Lysistrata showcases female rebellion and triumph over the influence of male dominance. In particular, Lysistrata portrays the revolution of women not only to rise to positions of influence and tilt the balance of power, but also to play important political roles in determining the destiny of their communities. In reference to the major characters in the two texts, this essay provides a comparative analysis of the portrayal of women in terms of the position they held in traditional societies, with particular emphasis on women sexuality, power, and education.

The Taming of the Shrew represents the exploitation of women in the society by highlighting social values that promote male violence, female submission to male authority, the objectification of women’s bodies as well as keeping them ignorant. The glorification of women’s ignorance is exemplified in Bianca and Katherina’s father’s decision to recruit a music teacher for them instead of taking them to school. Teaching women art skills like dancing and singing agrees with patriarchy’s goals of tutoring women in areas that enable them to entertain men. The fate of the play’s major character, Katherina, is testimony to the entrenchment of patriarchal values in society. At the beginning, Katherina displays independence and ability to stand against male chauvinism. She readily attacks men who challenge her independence and always have a view of her own on many issues. In Act I, she tells Hortensio and Gremio that Iwis it is not halfway to her heart: But if it were, doubt not her care should be To comb your noodle with a three-legged stool, And paint your face and use you like a fool (1.1.61–65).

The men around her misinterpret her attitude as a sign of the lack of respect; she frequently insults, degrades or physically attacks any man who offends her. This male-view, however, is blind to the real issues behind her rebellious behavior. Katherina is evidently a victim of societal expectations of women. Society glorifies women who are beautiful to attract the attention of men and humble enough to submit to male authority. Katherina’s independence and intelligence puts her at conflict with male chauvinism. Men in her society want a woman they can control, and these are the qualities that she lacks. In contrast, her sister Bianca embodies feminine qualities that the society expects of women. She is unassuming, soft-spoken, and physically attractive. She exhibits the virtues that society approves: she is candid, innocent, and humble (Beiner 102). Consequently, because of her independence and willingness to challenge male authority, Katherina has grown out of favor with her father, who shows bias towards her younger sister, the beautiful and humble Bianca. Similarly, Bianca attracts more suitors than Katherina. These factors are responsible for making Katherina feel out of place; she does not fit in a society with patriarchal values. In this regard, The Taming of the Shrew reveals the society’s aversion to women who wield power, either through their intelligence or independence. Due to her independence and intelligence, Katherina refuses to play the role the society has assigned to her – the role of a maiden daughter to her father and a submissive wife-material to the men around her. Her potential as a wife is limited, because she fails on these scores, thus presenting possible cause for her anger and rebellion towards men. She hates society’s expectation of her to be a dutiful daughter and display courtesy and grace toward her male suitors.

In addition, society has degraded female sexuality down to the role women play as sex objects (Bean 65). As such, physical beauty is a major factor in a girl’s getting a potential marriage partner. Katherina understands that beauty and sexual attractiveness determine her chances of getting married. However, she equally understands that she does not fit in this definition of a potential wife. At the same time, she is conscious that this perception of women as sexual objects degrades her dignity. Thus, her self-awareness of her physical undesirability compels her not only to loath the men around her, but also rebel against the society’s designation of a woman’s role and place in society. Nevertheless, she recognizes the rigidity of social values that dictate her role in society (Beiner 104). Since she finds it hard to compromise her independence and surrender to whims of men, she ends up becoming ill-tempered and miserable. Unfortunately, the more she becomes angry toward the rigidity of society’s values, the more she reduces her chances of getting a husband and alienated from her own society. Thus, she eventually surrenders her independence by playing the role of an ignorant and submissive wife to her husband, Petruchio. From their first encounter, Petruchio makes it clear that he will marry her regardless her wishes. He uses force to assert himself and force Katherina to conform to her role as a woman. Finally, she gives up her resistance to male domination to escape from the cold disapproval she receives from the society due to her reputation as a shrew. Any social role, even that of the exploited wife becomes more appealing and attractive than living under social rejection. This is shown in Scene II of Act III, where Petruchio tells those present that Katherina is his rightful property to do with as he pleases. He says:

I will be master of what is mine own. She is my goods, my chattels, she is my house, My household stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing (ll.231-234).

Not surprisingly, Katherina gives a speech in the play’s end espousing the need for women to obey their men, which shows the final triumph of patriarchy.

Katherina’s situation, therefore, shows that society only accommodates women who surrender their independence by submitting to male authority as well as conform to the male-perspective on female sexuality, the treatment of women as vessels for satisfying men’s sexual desires (Rackin 2005). Her husband, Petruchio, attempts to put her in her right place by torturing her and attempting to diffuse her independence by forcing her to agree with everything he says regardless how absurd or awkward it is. For instance, she agrees with his claim that the sun is the moon, saying that "if you please to call it a rush-candle, Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me" (4.5.14–15). This situation portrays Petruchio’s desire to control her intellectually as a means of taming her dealing with her independence, intelligence, and assertiveness. In this light, Petruchio’s attitude shows that female independence is an attempt to disrupt social order (Duthie 59), and society resists such attempts by alienating those who try to assert their independence or rebel against tradition.

Lysistrata, the heroine of Lysistrata, contrasts with Katherina by rising above the challenges of patriarchy. Whereas Katherina allows her sexuality to be used against her, Lysistrata uses it as a weapon to gain power in a male-dominated society. The play’s opening scene portrays the traditional and stereotypical representation of women in Greece; domestic-oriented and content being under male authority. This is exemplified by Lysistrata’s neighbor, Kleonike, who explains to her that women are late in coming to the meeting Lysistrata has called for, because they are tending to their children. However, Lysistrata is portrayed differently from the rest of her womenfolk; she has no husband to whom she is answerable and is not keen to play a housewife’s role.

Athens and Sparta are at war, and all the men have gone to the battle. Traditionally, war and all issues to do with it were the preserve of men (Hunt 73). Lysistrata departs from this traditional view by convening a meeting of women to discuss about ending the war. From the onset, therefore, the play shows a transformation of women’s role in society. Lysistrata represents the rise of women to positions of power and influence. She shows anger at the women’s failure to come out and talk about serious issues affecting their society (war and peace). Equally, she is angered by their unwillingness to stand up to the negative/demeaning stereotyping of women, exclaiming that “I'm positively ashamed to be a woman- a member of a sex which can't even live up to male slanders” (15-16). This is because women in Greece were regarded as irrational creatures that needed protection from their feminine shortcomings (Murray 215). Concerned about the effects of the war, however, Lysistrata engineers a coup in which women literally take over Greece, forcing the warring states of Athens and Sparta to begin peace talks.

Lysistrata’s success in overcoming patriarchy and male domination is centered on her deviousness in employing women’s feminine features to prey on the men’s sexual urges. However, Lysistrata is different from The Taming of the Shrew, because Greek women use their bodies as objects of sexual attraction to control and manipulate men rather than satisfying male lust. She convinces women to use their bodies to their own advantage by making men desire them. Aristophanes’ treatment of female sexuality, therefore, is different from Shakespeare’s portrayal. In Lysistrata, the female body is a powerful weapon that helps women gain power in society. It reduces the assuming men (the view that it is the right of a man to use a woman’s body for sexual satisfaction) into beggars who pleads with the women to allow them have sex. Thus, Lysistrata sees women’s feminine features as the assets that could be exploited to control men. For instance, she examines women’s bodies for their strengths to arouse desire in men; the curves on Ismenia’s genitalia and her hairless vulva, and the Korinthian girl’s monstrous buttocks. The women remark how men will find it difficult in resisting this exhibition of raw eroticism. This approach contrasts with Katherina, who allows her femininity to be used against her. The scheming of women around their sexuality, therefore, becomes a source of power rather than being a source of exploitation and objectification of their bodies as seen in The Taming of the Shrew. The women in Lysistrata gain power by playing upon male stereotypes ? the idea that men cannot resist sexual temptation or control their lust. This development shows a remarkable departure from the submissiveness of Katherina and her womenfolk, who surrender to their fate as sexual objects. In this regard, Lysistrata shows masculine qualities by adopting a male perspective on sexuality (exploiting the female identity to control men). She looks at the women as sexual objects that could be exploited to counter male power. This is evident in the scene where, upon Lysistrata ‘s urging, Myrrhine tempts her husband with a promise to have sex, but eventually abandons him in mad desire without satisfying the sexual fire she had ignited.

Nevertheless, Aristophanes asserts the continuity of patriarchy by excluding women from future leadership roles in Lysistrata’s idealized Athens. The omission of women from positions of power suggests that even for a feminist like Lysistrata, women have their socially dictated roles to play. This conclusion of the play agrees with Shakespeare’s closing views in The Taming of the Shrew on the role of women in society. Both texts concur that political and leadership roles (positions of power) are the preserve of men. This concurrence asserts the traditional values and beliefs of patriarchal societies, where women are regarded as the subordinates of men.

Works Cited

Aristophanes. Lysistrata. London: Wildside Press LLC, 2008. Print.

Bean, John. “Comic Structure and the Humanizing of Kate in ‘The Taming of the Shrew’.” in The Woman's Part: Feminist Criticism of Shakespeare, Lenz et al., (Eds.). New York: University of Illinois Press, 1983. Print.

Beiner, George. Shakespeare's agonistic comedy: poetics, analysis, criticism. NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1993. Print.

Duthie, George. Shakespeare. New York: Routledge, 1951. Print.

Hunt, Peter. War, Peace, and Alliance in Demosthenes' Athens. London: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print.

Murray, Oswyn. “Life and Society in Classical Greece.” In The Oxford History of the Classical World, Boardman, John, Griffin, Jasper, and Murray, Oswyn, (eds). London: Oxford University Press 1986. Print.

Shakespeare, William. The Taming of the Shrew. London: Plain Label Books, 2008. Print.

History book review


Development of Modern Western Culture

Edward Peters translates the primary writings of Fulcher of Chartres from Latin into English. Fulcher of Chartres was born around 1059 AD. He wrote chronicles of the First Crusade in Latin. Edward Peters translates these chronicles into English without altering the original content. The Chronicles of Fulcher of Chartres by Edward Peters is a primary document of the works of Fulcher in English. Fulcher was present at the Council of Clermont in 1095 during preaching of the First Crusade by Pope Urban II. He was a cleric in the Catholic Church and left Europe with an army belonging to Robert of Normandy, Robert of Flanders and Stephen of Blois. He was also a chaplain of King Baldwin of Jerusalem. The presence of Fulcher in all the expeditions, his close connection with French Princes and the king, and his ability to organize complex motives and experiences makes his chronicles perhaps the best primary source for the First Crusade. Edward Peters, a famous historian, exhibits a great expertise in giving a full translation of the chronicles.

Thesis Statement

The main objective of this essay is to prove the thesis statement that the First Crusade has not only affected the relations between the Muslims and the Christians but also fundamentally shaped the modern Western culture. It gives evidence from the primary source of the First Crusade, namely The Chronicles of Fulcher of Chartres by E. Peters. The essay also derives evidence from the modern Western civilization and relates it to the medieval Crusades.

Importance of the work in development of modern Western Culture

Fulcher gives an account of the eleventh century, when it was common for the Christians to go for pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He explains that increase in religious fervor and encouragement by the Church made the Christians go for pilgrimage. The Holy Sepulcher was one of the most holy places. It was situated in the Muslim-dominated kingdom. The Fatimid Kingdom was friendly to the Christians who visited the region. However, the Seljuk Turks were less tolerant. They even tormented and persecuted the Christians. These actions came to the attention of Pope Urban II. He called for the Council of Clermont to give a speech on energizing the church. Fulcher writes down the Pope’s speech addressing the need to assist Constantinople and free Jerusalem.

Many nobles and the general public responded to the Pope’s speech and united in an attempt to liberate the Christian Holy Land from the Muslims in the East. Fulcher reports that the titled knights and kings joined for their souls’ salvation in assisting the church. The landless knights joined for fame and liberation of the church. This act raised a lot of questions in the modern Western civilization about the motives of the Christians. The Muslims viewed it as an act of greed from the Christians in an attempt to grab their land and gold. The Christians, on the other hand, viewed this as an act of liberating their Holy Land from the Muslims. The Muslims argued that many joined not with an aim of liberation but rather to fit in the rigid feudal system and social structure, which required the great riches. Therefore, they argued that the poor took this as an opportunity to find riches in the faraway lands like Jerusalem, which had a rich history and a great fame.

Many armies joined the First Crusade to free the Holy Land. They consisted of people from different social backgrounds. The armies committed atrocities against the Jews on their way to the Muslim territories in the name of the Church. Fulcher reports that some Christians even murdered their fellows to reduce competition for the expected riches. Therefore, majority of the crusaders in the first wave did not make it to the halfway point. Some of them succumbed to diseases, while others lost their purpose or lacked money to fund their journey. Finally, the Christians made their way to the Byzantine capital, where other crusaders from Constantinople joined them. They attacked the Muslims in Antioch, Nicaea and other smaller cities. Many soldiers and horses were lost in the desert, which significantly weakened their army. The soldiers raped and stole from the Muslim villages. The food and money were received from Christian communities in Europe and Asia.

The Jerusalem siege began in 1099. Their victory in Jerusalem has also raised questions on their massacre in Jerusalem and has influenced modern perspectives and differences in the Western civilization. The crusaders with the help of the Franks led a siege in Jerusalem, which lasted forty days. They killed men, women and children during two days. They also murdered civilians in the region as they regarded this as the Pope’s directive. The Franks killed most of the noncombatants revenging for Christian massacre in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by Muslims. They also killed all the defenders in the region, including people from different ethnicities and religions, such as Jews and other Christians. This act played a key role in influencing future western culture as it marked the beginning of the Holy War.

The accounts of the First Crusade presented in The Chronicles of Fulcher of Chartres show that it was militarily successful in meeting the objectives of Pope Urban to liberate the Holy City from Muslims. The Frankish invasion was the most successful siege since the Muslim Caliphs were unprepared due to the religious infighting. It shaped the Western culture as the Muslims viewed it as a formal declaration of war between the Muslims and the Christians. It is evident in the current Western countries, especially the United States of America. Different terrorist bombings associated with Muslim terrorist groups, such as the Al Khaeda, show that the war is still in place. American declaration of the war against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan after the September 11 attacks shows that the Crusade has gone a long way in influencing Western culture.

Despite religious differences, the Crusade had other influences on the relations between the Christians and the Muslims. It opened the trade routes between the East and Europe. The European knights, who fought in the war, settled in the East. The Catholic Church also asserted its Christians of uncooperative nobility. Fulcher reports that the Crusade helped in increasing the influence of the Catholic Church as a unifying force at that time (Peters 34). The war had a religious mission, according to the clerics and Christians. This shaped future western attitudes toward religion as a discipline. Moreover, it presented the idea of religious warriors and the concept of chivalric ethos. The primary source of the records about the First Crusade translated by Edward Peters gives reliable information about the war without bias in a familiar language. It also assists the reader in comprehensive reading the historical accounts.


This essay proves the thesis that the First Crusade has not only affected the relations between the Muslims and the Christians but also fundamentally shaped the modern Western culture. The Crusade, as stated in The Chronicles of Fulcher of Chartres, contributes in the current negative attitudes towards the Pan-Arab region and the Americans (the West). The negative perceptions and attitudes have adverse impacts on the Western and American economic policy, foreign policy, military actions and modern Western culture in general. The primary source presents information about the First Crusade, the motives and perceptions of different leaders, knights, the Christians and the Muslims. It gives the original account of the situation, which further influenced other Crusades and the Western civilization in general.

Work Cited

Peters, Edward. The First Crusade: "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres" and Other Source Materials (The Middle Ages Series). 2nd ed. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011. Print.

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