Women, Power, and The Shadow King

In our English class, we read the novel, The Shadow King, by Maaza Mengiste. This book focuses on the Second Italo-Ethiopian War and the roles the Ethiopian females played in it. Following the completion of our single paragraph prose’s about what our biggest takeaway forms the book was, we also created a podcast that captured what these proses contained and our other thoughts.

In the proses, we fashioned a series of different topics each unique to the individual to read the book. In Joe’s prose he focused on Aster and her fight for equality. He noted that, she redefines the gender norms by adorning herself with the clothes of her husband, an officer in the army, and also with the cape of her father-in-law, a war hero. By doing this she symbolizes power and freedom and acts as an inspiration for the other Ethiopian women. Daniel, on the other hand observed the oppression of females throughout history. He delves into the actions of these females and how in a variety of different ways can gain power. In Hunter’s paragraph he centers on the sexual assault and rape of the female characters that Mengiste shows in an extremely raw and painful light.

To hear more about each students’ key takeaways from the novel, tune into our podcast which can be found on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-729080513/the-shadow-king-podcast

This entry was posted in #PBL #StudentCentered, 2020 Booker Short List novels, Literature Circles aka #litcircles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Women, Power, and The Shadow King

  1. amethystmckenzie says:

    These are some really insightful takeaways! Loved the podcast (and the song choice).

  2. Nick Maggi says:

    Great job on the Podcast! I really enjoyed the discussion of oppression of women throughout history and the ways they broke through that oppression tho gain power. Great choice of music too

  3. Megan Swanson says:

    This was engaging right from the start! You all have a strong understanding of the novel and gave some really interesting points. I loved the specific examples from the text you used to support your ideas. I found Hunter’s exploration of sexual assault in the novel really interesting, thoughtful, and insightful.

  4. 21wschmitz says:

    I really enjoyed the song choice to open the podcast. I feel like the lyrics really embodied what you went on to talk about in term of redefining the gender norms typically associated with women in war.

  5. 21pjh says:

    Your discussion of women through history and gender roles was very powerful and complete. I also enjoyed your music choice. Well done.

  6. mlemza says:

    I love your lit group’s takeaway depicting the redefining the gender norms. Aster is a great character for this! (and your song choice I loved)

  7. Samantha D'Angelo says:

    Hunter, I think the way that you addressed the important takeaway of sexual assault was very mature in the podcast. It is a really important message and the way your group interpreted the words from the book created a crucial theme and opened others eyes. Overall, great job to everyone.

  8. Naila Gomez says:

    I really like that you guys highlighted Mengiste’s message of female empowerment and the character’s ability to defy gender norms. I also agree that Mengiste does a great job of delving into characters as a whole instead of letting the readers believe they are flat.

  9. Naila Gomez says:

    I also loved Hunter’s commentary on rape culture and sexual assault. It was really insightful and well said.

  10. Suffield Academy says:

    I really appreciate how the bold lyrics of the chosen song play well with Hunter’s brutally truthful comment of how girls are taught when growing up to protect themselves from men, while instead, men are not taught to fix or change their behavior. The lyrics are a modern realization that equality means both men and women take action, instead of just putting a bandaid over a larger wound.

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