If I thought for a moment we had achieved true equality in North America, I would question the need for women’s studies, women’s history, women’s writing prizes. If I thought that, I’d be writing about McKay’s novel as a curiosity, one no longer relevant, like so much of the 1800s. Cultural rules don’t change that fast. But they do change.
Lately, our literary detective-types have been showing some realistic signs of wear and tear. It can show up as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a lasting psychological disorder resulting from exposure to a harrowing experience, with symptoms that range from nightmares and flashbacks to memories that trigger muscle tension and increased heart rate.