Friday, June 23, 2017

Redwall, A Tale Of Feminist Mice (and other creatures, too!)

It's not really a proper review, just my impressions. Since I mentioned the book in a previous post, I felt obliged to write a follow-up:)

For those who don't know, Redwall, written in 1986, is a children's book about a heroic mouse who lives in a Redwall Abbey, a strange sort of monastery which apparently includes both male and female mice. The monastery and its surroundings are threatened by a barbaric rat army and the whole story is about the war between them and Matthias's (that's the protagonist's name) quest to recover an ancient sword which will bring the ultimate victory to the forces of good. It's the first book of the series by the same name, too.

Well, I'd had my doubts about it and I was right:) Feminists will love this one. Not only does it feature plenty of "fierce, strong female warriors" of all sorts, but also a complete role reversal with a mother squirrel going out to war while her husband works in the kitchen and takes care of their son. Plus a warrior sparrow queen, replacing an evil king!

The plot is quite complicated so the story obviously wasn't meant for very little children, yet most of the females hardly exhibit any distinctly female character traits, with the exception of a mouse called Cornflower, which Matthias has hots for and later marries. Most of the time, she just works in the kitchen with Mr. Squirrel, but during the final battle, she saves the day by putting a tower on fire burning lots of enemies in the process, and earns great respect of everyone.

Obviously, the author (who was a man, by the way) considered the enemy-slaying abilities in the female of the species as much more important than her nurturing skills. No such Victorian nonsense as "an angel in the house" for him:)

Naturally, one could expect so much from a rather modern book, though personally I found first two Harry Potters (I only read two of them), which were written much later, less feminist than that. But the point is, I saw this book recommended as good reading for children on a "right-wing" site and a pretty hardcore at that. How can anyone with reactionary leanings give it to their children, I can't comprehend, but may be, it's just me. Others have different standards, of course, so by writing this, I don't mean any offence,  I just feel that the parents should be informed:)


  1. Thank you for the follow up! I haven't read this book but I was considering.
    I love reading your posts!

  2. Mrs.O, you are welcome! I didn't want to sound like I really endorsed. I've heard it mentioned somewhere as a good read, and so decided to give it a try. In the beginning it was quite decent. It's a lengthy book and it took me quite some time to read through it,though, probably also because it featured no human characters of any sort and it was difficult for me to really get thrilled by the adventures of some mice:) (yeah, I'm getting older, too!). I'm not saying it's a bad book, it had it nice parts, but personally I quickly get turned off by warrior mothers and stay-at-home fathers. Just old-fashioned like that, I guess:)

  3. Oh I don't like warrior mothers and stay-at-home father either.
    Old fashioned is a label I will take!!