Introduction & Overview of Women in Their Beds

This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Women in Their Beds.
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Women in Their Beds Summary & Study Guide Description

Women in Their Beds Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on Women in Their Beds by Gina Berriault.

Gina Berriault's short story "Women in Their Beds" was published in a collection of the same name in 1996, when the author was seventy. This volume of new and selected stories represented a breakthrough for Berriault, who had worked steadily at her craft for forty years but, up to this point, had received little critical attention. Women in Their Beds was widely praised in the press and won a number of prestigious national literary awards. In his effusive review of the collection, Lynell George of the Los Angeles Times Book Review writes, "In stories that are part trance, part cinema, Gina Berriault writes about the beds we make and are forced to lie in."

The title story, set in San Francisco in the late 1960s, describes the experiences of a young actress, Angela Anson, who has a day job as a social worker at the county hospital. She carries out the duty of assigning patients on the women's ward to beds at other institutions, but otherwise resists her role as a cog in the bureaucracy, identifying strongly with the downtrodden and lonely women on the ward. Meditating on the patients, Angela makes imaginative connections between the destinies that all women share, forming a theory that women are "inseparable from their beds." "Women in Their Beds" has a dreamlike logic that blurs the boundaries between self and other, fact and feeling, drama and reality. The story showcases Berriault's greatest strengths as a writer: the precise beauty of her language, the vivid comparisons she draws between perception and reality, and the enormous compassion with which she represents her characters.

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