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Nervous Conditions

The following collection of thematically related readings is available in Nervous Conditions and Related Readings in McDougal Littell's Literature Connections series.


"Professions for Women" by Virginia Woolf
(from The Death of the Moth and Other Essays, © 1942)
Summary: In this speech, given to a group of professional women, Woolf discusses her experiences as a writer confronting oppressive attitudes toward women.

"Back to School" by Andrea Lee
Summary: An African-American woman reflects on the changes in attitude and behavior between the 1960s and the 1990s in the private school she once attended and now visits with her daughter.

Excerpt from Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez, © 1982
Summary: This excerpt from Rodriguez's autobiography gives a poignant glimpse of growing up in two cultures and speaking two languages.

"Losing a Language" by W.S. Merwin
(from The Rain in the Trees, © 1988)
Summary: This poem evokes the experience of moving into a new language and away from an old, familiar one.

"Points of View" by Lucinda Roy
(from Wailing the Dead to Sleep, © 1988)
Summary: The speaker in this poem connects women of different times and places through the imagery and symbolism of water.

"The Old Chief Mshlanga" by Doris Lessing
(from African Stories, © 1951)
Summary: A young white girl in an African country comes to realize the injustices and cruelties created by her own people.

"Young Africa's Plea" by Dennis Osadebay
Summary: The speaker in this poem, a tribal chief, calls for the respect due himself and all native Africans.