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Sisters of the Shadow [Hardcover]

Maxine Harris

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"Sisters of the Shadow" illuminates the negative images of human possibility. It weaves together stories from the lives of homeless women with historical and mythological tales of the feminine shadow. In each generation, aspects of feminine behaviuor that are culturally and personlly unacceptable have been thrust outward from the majority of women onto a highly visible and vulnerable minority. IN the past, it was witches and madwomen who wore the projections of the feminine shadow. For the last two decades of the 20th century, it has been homeless women - exiled, victimized, nonconforming and at times dangerous - who have become the carriers of the denied and unlived aspects of female consciousness. In this book, Maxine Harris develops the concept of the feminine shadow as the part of a women's potential that she denies and devalues. Because the shadow makes itself visible in the mythologies and fantasies of a culture, material from a variety of nontraditional sources is presented along with the real life stories of homeless women who now embody our shadow selves.

The book departs from the usual sociological and economic analyses of homelessness to develop a psychological and metaphoric understanding of the role homeless women play in the lives of all women. The author contends that all women contain within themselves the potential to be victim, exile, rebel, or predator and that the more these aspects of feminine possibility are denied and relagated to the shadow realm of consciousness by the many, the more they will be projected outward and applied only to the less fortunate few. Such an analysis has far-reaching implications for the repair and reaffiliation of homeless women and for the healing and wholeness of all women. Using her training and experience, Dr.Harris identifies the significance and universality of the personal and mythological stories that are recounted, and she suggests ways in which all women can become more whole through an acceptance of their shadow selves.

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