Still Lives Themes & Motifs

Maria Hummel
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Still Lives.
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The Power of the Media

As several points in the novel, the narrative addresses the destructive effects that the media can have in society, and a primary effect that the novel highlights is mass media’s use in perpetuating misogynistic ideas. For example, Kim Lord’s Still Lives exhibition specifically critiques the media’s exploitation of real-life stories of women being murdered. In subtle and insidious ways, media even seems to celebrate and glorify such violence. When Maggie looks at the painting of victim Roseann Quinn, Maggie states in narration, “Roseann Quinn’s 1973 murder exploded in the national news because it was a timely I-told-you-so to the new generation of women choosing sexually liberated lives” (40). Thus, in the case of Roseann Quinn, the media essentially blamed Quinn for her own murder rather than focus on the killer himself. In this way, the media served to perpetuate patriarchal...

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This section contains 2,261 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Still Lives Study Guide
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