Unfairness in Literature

I have unfairness on my mind these days. The unfairness of Trump — almost exactly a year ago — defeating the flawed but infinitely more qualified Hillary Clinton because of sexism, racism, the Electoral College, Russian interference, Republican voter-suppression efforts, etc. The unfairness of Democratic National Committee shenanigans helping to give Clinton an advantage in the 2016 primaries over the more progressive/less-corporate-tied Bernie Sanders — shenanigans again confirmed this month in a book by DNC insider Donna Brazile. And there are other unfair things, in and out of politics, too numerous to mention here.

That got me thinking about the many depictions of unfairness in literature — depictions that evoke all kinds of reader emotions: sorrow, anger, frustration, “I can relate to that in real life,” or “glad it wasn’t me in real life.” Sometimes things end well in those fictional works, and we’re happy in a wish-fulfillment sort of way. Other times things end badly, which is upsetting but perhaps more believable. Here are just a few examples:

In George Eliot’s Silas Marner, the title character is betrayed by his best friend — who not only falsely frames Silas of a crime but also ends up marrying Mr. Marner’s fiancee. Silas is devastated by those horribly unfair blows, and only an unexpected event helps him recover.

Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred shows African-American protagonist Dana living a pretty good life in 1970s California before she’s yanked back to a plantation in pre-Civil War years. As terribly unfair a destination as there is for someone involuntarily traveling in time.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin includes the slaveowner character Augustine St. Clare, who pledges to free Tom but never does the necessary paperwork before he (Augustine) unexpectedly dies. The results are tragic for Tom, who’s then sold to vicious plantation owner Simon Legree in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel. Unfair is a gross understatement here.

The two main characters in John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars have nothing but unfair lives as they each deal with ultra-serious medical conditions. But they meet and develop a wonderful relationship, until the unfairness escalates to another level…

In W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, Philip Carey is unfairly born with a club foot that’s one of the things that takes a toll on his self-esteem. So, even though he’s a smart guy with good prospects, he ends up pathetically enamored with an unlikable woman spectacularly unsuited for him.

But, more often than not, female characters in literature experience more unfairness than male ones — whether it’s beleaguered welfare recipient Connie Ramos in Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, several women in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, or the basically enslaved women in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, to name just three examples.

Then there’s the unfair way so many gay characters are treated by other characters in literature, as is the case with Molly Bolt of Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle.

In Peter Straub’s “Blue Rose” short story, which I read last month, a young boy is part of an extremely dysfunctional family. That unfair accident of birth is bad enough, but then his older brother begins manipulating him through hypnosis — leading to a shocking fate for the poor kid.

An example of the very ultimate in unfairness? In Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, Australia’s residents await certain death from a wave of radiation set off by a nuclear war their country had nothing to do with.

What are some memorable fictional works that fit this topic for you?

(Also, debate about my first paragraph is welcome. 🙂 I know there are some Hillary Clinton supporters who regularly comment here, while I preferred Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. It would have been nice if Donna Brazile had waited until after the November 7 election to release her book, but it didn’t seem to hurt the Democrats last Tuesday.)

My 2017 literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for Baristanet.com. The latest weekly piece, which looks at Election Day results, is here.

90 thoughts on “Unfairness in Literature

  1. One of the best examples that I know about of unfairness in classic literature is Shakespeare’s tragedy “Othello” where the innocent Desdemona is wrongly accused of adultery and killed by her loving but deceived husband.

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  2. Great post Dave!

    Unfairness? any book with (sparkly) Vampires as protagonists Stephenie Meyer’s novels or just about all of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay.

    Beyond the indignity of sparkling like a cheap Swarovski crystal knockoff, Vampires face not only the unfairness they dealt with in human life but also the loneliness immortality brings.

    The despair in Les Mis makes me want to pop some Xanax.

    Loss of parents, wrong side of the tracks socioeconomic are the catalyst in the Outsiders that leads to so much tragedy.

    Dexter Morgan life, Darkly Dreaming Dexter, is forever changed as a traumatic murder plunges him into Psychopathy and life as a serial killer.

    Unfairness is universal and has touched most of us in some way (real or imagined) which is why it’s central to fiction story-lines, as is the desire to overcome it.

    Politics? I haven’t the stomach for it 🙂

    As always typos and grammatical errrors 😀 are made with love for all to enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jack! That is a GREAT comment! Including its third-from-last paragraph that sums things up as well as anything can be summed up.

      Vampires might not only live an unfair life, but those they might prey might feel their victimhood is unfair, too. 🙂

      Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” is definitely rife with unfairness, as is that author’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

      And being socioeconomically disadvantaged and/or losing a parent is among the examples of an ultimate unfairness for children, who have no control over either of those things. Of course, adults also often find themselves in unfair situations through no fault of their own.

      I didn’t see one typo or grammatical error except that extra “r” followed by the smiling emoji. Nicely done! 🙂


  3. Pingback: Unfairness in Literature – Life Challenges Are Poetic

  4. A thought about fairness:

    It was commonly believed among the ancient Romans, that cruelty was a human drive, like sex or the need to eat. I have seen little in my reading of history or literature that persuades me that the Romans were mistaken, although I believe the drive is not universally distributed among us, but rather is visited on some overmuch, as is cruelty in deed.

    Mercy is an aspiration,toward which I must strain in my weakest hour, when cruelty is most tempting, and in my most powerful, when I am able to do whatever I can. Inequalities universally abound; mercy is mitigation. Where and when mercy flourishes, we might begin to consider fairness.


    • VERY eloquently put, jhNY.

      I don’t see cruelty as a human drive like sex and the need to eat, but it’s certainly a tendency many people have — with some of us keeping it in check more than others.

      Why the cruelty tendency? Perhaps a need to feel superior to others, with cruelty a way to push other people down. (Might be Trump’s only “skill.”) Or maybe some people feel that if they’re not cruel they’ll be looked at as wimpy.

      A synonym of cruelty: today’s Republican Party. 🙂 😦

      Liked by 1 person

        • Well said, literaturepoliticsfamilylife!

          It WOULD be nice if a third GOP way happened. I guess a small number of congressional Republicans such as Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, Jeff Flake, and Bob Corker (inconsistently) embody that potential.


      • Re: mercy, Shakespeare weighed in on that : “the ‘quality’ of mercy” so on and so forth; however, he didn’t speak to the “quantity” of mercy or maybe he did. Hmm? I don’t see cruelty as a human drive either, but who knows. I don’t think it is a motivation you might find among Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.” Yet when one considers that for some bizarre reason every cruel act seems to reduce the stress level of the one who acts cruelly, it would, most assuredly, mean that in some form or fashion it is a need, albeit a dark and deep seated one. I think Jung had a great deal to say about this, particularly with respect to aggression and emotional consciousness. Then again, I think all human behavior is compensatory behavior. With that said, I would much rather those who act cruelly take their aggression somewhere else, like “hey, Republicans Party go home and rip off the face of your teddy bears.” Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the excellent comment, Susi! VERY well said.

          Republicans really do need to aim their cruel aggression elsewhere — rather than at the poor, people of color, etc. To spare those innocent teddy bears mentioned in your funny comment conclusion, perhaps GOPers could don boxing gloves, look in the mirror, and punch themselves.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the first things both life and religion teach is that life itself is unfair. Also beautiful. Also broken. Also redeemable. But unfair for sure. The Bible is a book full of examples of life being unfair. How else to account for Jesus being executed?

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    • Bill T, a quick search thru the posts here for the Bible found yours. A particular, and contemporary, related story is in Matthew 20, the story of the workers in the Vineyard. Those who worked one hour were paid a day’s wage, much to the chagrin of those who’d labored thru the day. Recall many of these parables are of the “kingdom of heaven is like …” thread. Where our sense of justice and fairness are put to the test. This coming Sunday’s gospel — Matthew 25 — is even a more stark test of fairness: to those who have much, more will be given. These two stories are among the favorites of those who prefer to exploit their workers. And justify it since “it’s in the bible”.

      Contemplating this thought, I was reminded of Lorne Greene’s role in “Roots”, as the plantation owner reading from scripture to justify his treatment of the negro workers. Reading to serve one’s own point of view is so pointless. e.g., I cancelled my subscription to “The Nation” a decade ago.

      Good thread, Dave. ~ on dis/agreement!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, literaturepoliticsfamilylife!

        In the past and present, there was/is so much selective reading of scripture to validate people’s narrow-minded views. 😦

        I’ll leave the reply to the rest of your comment to Bill, if he sees what you skillfully wrote. 🙂 )

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        • I would not know, so just like you I will leave the comments to others who are well versed, as you are an atheist and I am not Christian but not atheist either could fall in the borderline for not attending any religious gatherings 🙂

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          • bebe, I definitely respect very religious or somewhat religious people who follow religion’s (ideal) basic tenets — being compassionate, treating the less-fortunate well, etc. I have no use for hypocritical “religious” people — such as Christian evangelicals who support lowlifes like Trump and Roy Moore. I prefer a good-hearted atheist a thousand times more than those immoral “believers.”

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            • the funny part of reasoning from supporting evangelicals is _now_ they offer to “forgive the sinner”, conflating forgiveness with support. one might point out their rationale is “i’ll forgive you if I support you” and not the other way round. what they don’t see is this places “support” above “forgiveness” in their value tree.

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  6. Have you read the novel “Dream West” by David Nevin? It is one of my favorite novels. It’s historical fiction, very well researched, about the life of John Charles Fremont (the Pathfinder). As a history enthusiast, I’m here to tell you that this guy made some mistakes during the Civil War. I had always felt that he deserved what he got in the end. But the way Nevin presented his whole life story – the struggles, the heartaches, the failures and successes – it made it so much more human. It made me empathize a lot more with him. It presented the view that he was perhaps treated very unfairly by the upper echelon politicians and generals, even from the very beginning, and in a sense was set up to fail. It was a fantastic inside look at the life of the pathfinder, and some of the injustices that he faced. As it’s historical fiction, I understand that some of it might be enhanced, but it at least made me think a little deeper about making a snap judgement based solely on history texts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, M.B.! Terrific summary/analysis of that novel, which I haven’t read but is now on my list. That book has a great title, too. I really enjoy a lot of historical fiction, which I know is a major area of interest and expertise for you.

      (John Charles Fremont’s nickname reminds me of “The Pathfinder” — one of the five James Fenimore Cooper novels, also including “The Last of the Mohicans,” featuring Natty Bumppo. “The Pathfinder” is not the best of the five — I think “The Deerslayer” is — but it’s pretty good.)


      • For some reason, I had a deep memory of a book I read back in junior high school about the wife of an American historical person from the 1800’s. I looked up the book M.B. noted, but the book by David Nevin was much too late for me to have found it in jr. high, but upon reading Wikipedia entries about Fremont’s wife, Jessie Benton Fremont, there appeared this: “Immortal Wife: The Biographical Novel of Jessie Benton Frémont” (1944) by Irving Stone. The title and the age of the book seems right, so I’ll go on believing that this is the book I remember from the early 1960’s! This is the stuff I remember, rolling around my head that I get so much satisfaction from.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Word Press, this is a new comment.

    Dave, I hate to disagree with you, but I was a fervent Hillary supporter and not ashamed at all about that. While I liked Bernie, she was the life-long Democrat (at least as an adult) who raised lots of money for her fellow Dems, whereas Bernie was a Democrat for a short time only to run for President, then went back to being an Independent once the election was over. I keep hearing about how the primary was rigged, but even Donna Brazile (who has lost my respect entirely by trying to sell a book over her claims) said it wasn’t rigged. Why do we continue to dispute the charges that Russia interference was instrumental to Hillary’s loss, as was Comey’s statements — and I hate to say it, but sexism as well. So we can agree to disagree.

    But getting back to your blog, I think of Lily Bart in Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth,” who was born into a good family and was beautiful, but was penniless on her own. She was an easy mark for rich and powerful men and lost her inheritance because of that. That was unfair and brought about her demise.

    For some reason, I thought about “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, and the trials and tribulations that occurred by being female and penniless. I know I’m probably the only person on this planet whose favorite character was Amy, although her character was instrumental to Jo’s unhappiness or feeling as though life was unfair. Amy burned up Jo’s writings when slighted by her and Laurie, Amy who got to go on the European trip with Aunt March, and Amy who ended up marrying Laurie. I think the European trip upset Jo more than anything else, and yet if that hadn’t happened, Jo wouldn’t have gone to NY and met Professor Baer. Aunt March did finally recognize Jo by giving her the big house that became a school.

    OK, I think I’ve gone on long enough, but I suppose my overarching theme is of women who have been treated unfairly, some who gave up and others who managed to succeed.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Agreed with you hundred percent on your first paragraph Kat Lib. Donna Brazile is one of many democrat never ran for an office. Was on Maher last Friday. He gently asked her “do you think you have power to replace the candidate ? ” she gave some nonsensical answer to him.

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      • Thanks, bebe. I think you and I are the same page when it comes to the 2016 election and all of its terrible consequences, so I’d rather we focus on what might of been, rather than blame everything on Hillary and the DNC. I’d rather hear about those in the Democratic Party who didn’t support the nominee of the party, instead of focusing on those that didn’t.

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        • Agreeing to disagree is absolutely fine, Kat Lib and bebe. 🙂 Several great points by both of you.

          I hear you, Kat Lib, about Bernie Sanders being an Independent rather than a Democrat, but he has caucused with the Democrats most or all of his time in Congress. And he did support Clinton against Trump after the primaries — perhaps not as enthusiastically as some Democrats would have liked, but support nonetheless.

          And while Donna Brazile’s book is self-serving, what book by a politician or political operator isn’t? Hillary’s recent memoir certainly tried to put the best face on her campaign — which was hurt not only by blatant sexism, Russia, Comey, etc., but also by some of her actions and inactions.

          bebe, as I’ve said, Brazile is an extremely imperfect messenger. But sometimes that kind of messenger is at least partly truthful.

          Kat Lib, Lily Bart is a GREAT example of a woman put into a VERY unfair situation. One likes to think things are better today — and they are — but there’s still an enormous amount of discrimination and other difficulties for women. And thanks for those interesting thoughts about Louisa May Alcott’s iconic novel, which I loved reading.

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            • Dave, I’m so excited that you finally found “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” at the library and plan to read it soon. I’ll be looking for your comments on this novel, which I still find so compelling and interesting. If you don’t find it so, that’s OK too, as we don’t need to always agree on books, just like we don’t always think alike on other books or politics! 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              • I’m excited, too, Kat Lib! I have a feeling I’ll like it a lot. 🙂 Will let you know what I think.

                I’m currently reading Liane Moriarty’s “Big Little Lies,” about 50 pages in. REALLY good. I totally recognize (with Australian variations), the suburban intrigue, the experiences of kids in schools, the entitlement of some of their parents, the economic divides, etc.


              • Dave, From only one Magazine I subscribe , it is a credible journal and gives different opinion , just came yesterday so I thought to post it only because we were discussing the topic . This was for Kat Lib as well.

                I just realize Thanksgiving is only a week away, need to plan what to cook, my Son, DIL are coming , perhaps her brother and very pregnant wife also.
                They don`t like turkey and I know your are Vegan. So any recipe from anyone is welcome always 🙂

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                • I don’t subscribe to “The Week,” bebe, but I’ve read it a number of times and like it a lot! It is indeed credible.

                  Yes, Thanksgiving is close! Good luck with yours — and with satisfying the different food preferences of different guests. Not easy. 😦

                  The past couple of years, we’ve kept things simple on Thanksgiving by going to a vegetarian restaurant about a 15-minute walk from our apartment and having faux turkey, etc.

                  In earlier years, when we’d host, we cooked vegetarian pasta dishes (lasagna, fettuccine with leeks, etc.) instead of or addition to turkey. I’ve also heard “Tofurky” is good, but have never had it. I HAVE had that company’s faux-turkey slices in sandwiches — really good. 🙂

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            • Thanks, bebe, I thought this article was spot-on. Thanks for sharing it, and I think it shows how much Brazile wanted to hawk her book, at the expense of Hillary, as well as the DNC, of which she was interim head of.

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          • Dave, I’ve been thinking about this blog and the many comments, but I think it worthwhile to think about those comments and apply them to my own life. As I just tried to revisit those negative comments about Hillary Clinton, I thought about those aimed at me, not by anyone here, but those who I’ve come in contact with. I think that, as many say, life’s too short to engage in such divisive statements. I could give you times that I felt that life was treating me unfairly, yet those same moments also filled me with joy that I may not have known otherwise…e.g., my trip to Europe with girlfriends I wouldn’t have met if I didn’t move to Minneapolis in my junior year. So, one never knows!

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            • Beautifully said, Kat Lib!

              The criticism of Hillary Clinton is complicated. Many who criticize her are just out-and-out sexists — the kind of men who make things difficult for countless women, famous or not. Other who criticize HC don’t like her corporate ties and centrist or center-right stands (she does have progressive views, too). I would love to see a woman elected president — if that woman were Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Nina Turner, etc. And HC would have been light years better than the Predator-in-Chief we have now.

              I’m very glad that the conversation here is so cordial, and life is indeed too short to over-focus on divisive things. That’s one reason I make political comments in my literature columns only occasionally. (This Sunday’s Nov. 19 column will be pretty apolitical. 🙂 ) Of course, political commentary of all kinds is welcome in the comments section every week. 🙂

              There’s not much that’s better than traveling to Europe when young!


              • Yes, Dave, I’ve always been fascinated by the question about “The road not taken,” the poem by Robert Frost. There’s at least one movie I can think about, “Sliders” with Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as the book by Lionel Shriver, “The Post-Birthday World.” I’m sure there are many other movies or books with the same topic, but I’m drawing a blank here. I think back on my life and the many times when one seemingly fairly innocent decision or something out of one’s control, can change one’s life, for better or worse. But none of knows how or why, so I suppose we all have to live the life we chose somewhere in the past, and deal with it the best way we can.

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                • “The road not taken”/alternate histories is/are indeed fascinating, Kat Lib. I saw “Sliding Doors” a number of years ago, and it was a haunting, makes-one-think movie. Various “Star Trek” episodes have also done the alternate-timeline thing in riveting ways. And I’d like to read that Lionel Shriver novel. As you allude to, so many decisions we make determine our future lives — some minor or random (like just making or just missing a subway in that Gwyneth Paltrow film) and some major (like who we decide to date, which college we choose, what job interviews we go on or not go on, which town we move to, etc.).


                  • Oops, I did mean to say “Sliding Doors,” rather than “Sliders,” which is something one orders in restaurants. 🙂 And Shriver’s novel was fascinating about the way it went back and forth between the female character’s life before and after one event on her birthday. As a warning, unless you want to put up with a very detailed description of the cue game of “Snooker,” then this isn’t the book for you.

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                    • Well, Dave, I never read “Moby Dick,” although I’m much more interested in whale minutia than snooker minutia; however, I’d rather read something by a woman than a man, whatever the subject! 🙂

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                    • If only “Moby-Dick” were written by Hermione Melville…

                      Seriously, while the informative whale minutiae is partly a slog in “M-D,” the majority of the novel that’s character- and plot-based is riveting (and at times funny). Plus Melville’s masterful prose…


          • As long as we’re rehashing, regarding HRC’s book: though she goes on for many pages, she neglects to feature the real problem which she could not overcome: Bill Clinton, her husband.

            Bill Clinton’s meet-up with Loretta Lynch on the tarmac caused Lynch to recuse herself from heading the Justice Department’s probe of the email controversy, which led Comey to be put in charge. Comey, inserting himself once more at campaign’s end, announced more email investigation before he even knew precisely if further investigation was necessary. Turns out it wasn’t. Turns out enough voters were turned off that many didn’t turn out. HRC’s defeat began on that tarmac. No tarmac, no Trump.

            Bill Clinton’s past (?) sexual misdoings were brushed over as always by supporters, yet remained indelible, and provided a handy and effective foil to whatever outrage HRC’s supporters could muster re Trump’s own.

            Huma Abedin’s bad marriage to a compulsive career-killer might have remained her own business had it not reminded too many of HRC’s. Having stood by her man several times in years gone by, despite all evidence against him, I suppose HRC felt she should stand by Abedin in her own dark hour. A strategic error of the unforced variety. It just reminded voters of tawdry Bill’s doings, Hillary’s denial of of all but the Lewinsky affair, and her shame in the midst of a relentless keeping up of appearances for the sake of political ambition.

            I blame Bill. But Hillary just couldn’t. So she’ll never know “What Happened”.

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            • EXCELLENT points, jhNY! Bill Clinton was more of an albatross than a help to Hillary, for the reasons you convincingly mentioned — and for other reasons as well, including Bill’s centrist policies being a bad fit for a year (2016) in which many people wanted change and were disgusted with elites. Of course, Trump is as elitist as they come, but he was able to fake it as a “populist” in his nasty/intolerant campaign.


              • I’m going to put my two cents worth in here, because I don’t know when it was acceptable to blame wives for the sexual escapades of their husbands, specifically Jackie Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most admired women in the US, if not the world. Hillary Clinton also made it on the list of most admired women in the world, which had nothing to do with her husband, and she accomplished many things throughout her career that had nothing to do with Bill. So I’ll respectfully disagree with you both and continue to admire a woman who had an impact on this country, especially women, children and families. You might still disagree with me, but I’d be interested if you can come up with anything specifically against her that has nothing to do with her husband.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Thanks for those thoughts, Kat Lib. I don’t blame Hillary at all for Bill’s extramarital sex life (some of it consensual, some possibly assault). And cheated-on spouses might defend their spouses and stay in marriages for complicated reasons.

                  When I told jhNY he had made excellent points, that was partly because Bill’s extramarital sex life did (unfairly) hurt Hillary in her 2016 campaign. For instance, if Bill had been a non-straying husband like Barack Obama, Trump’s campaign would probably have been hurt more over Trump’s many sexual-predator words and actions. Instead, Trump had some ammunition to deflect some attention from his disgusting behavior. Totally unfair, because Hillary wasn’t the adulterer in the Clinton marriage.

                  What do I have against Hillary that has little or nothing to do with Bill? Her vote for the not-necessary Iraq War, which resulted in countless deaths of Iraqis and Americans; her taking of huge speech fees from Wall Street; her calling some black suspected criminals “super-predators” (clip on YouTube); her very slow acceptance of gay marriage; her reluctance to support a $15 minimum wage; etc. Yes, she was and is VERY admirable in many ways — accomplishing much even while facing virulent sexism — and I was very impressed when I heard her speak in person in 1997. She was somewhat more liberal then. 🙂


                • I voted for Hillary in 2008 in the NY primary, voted for her again in the 2016 general election– I was not trying to say anything against her so much as I was trying to say her husband was the major source of her election troubles in 2016. No tarmac, no Trump– I will stick by that notion, as it comports to Nate Silver’s assessment of the election.

                  I am not trying to blame her for anything beyond loyalty to a man who has shown her too little.

                  I am likewise not trying to belittle her very real accomplishments.

                  As for Jackie Kennedy and Eleanor Roosevelt– whatever their husbands may have done by way of sexual indiscretion, it was done in those bygone days when such activities were kept from the public by a cooperative press. Much changed in the years since 1963.

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                • Hello Dave and jhNY, I just wanted to end this discussion, which is that, as a feminist, I don’t believe that any woman is an appendage of her man, whether husband, lover or friend. So, I will continue to believe that Hillary didn’t do anything wrong by association with her husband, Bill. I’d like to think that the women’s movement has progressed past that by now. If you disagree with that, then I won’t judge you, but I’ll continue to believe what I do. The broader point I was trying to make of your blog, Dave, is that women are still unfairly judged by their husbands/friends/lovers. Isn’t unfairness the whole point of your article?

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                  • “The broader point I was trying to make of your blog, Dave, is that women are still unfairly judged by their husbands/friends/lovers” — you are absolutely right, Kat Lib. Hillary, during the 2016 presidential campaign and at every other time in her adult life since she married Bill, should have been judged solely on her own words and actions. The fact that she hasn’t been is totally unfair. And there is MUCH less chance of a male politician being judged by the words and actions of his spouse. A huge, sexist double standard.


  8. “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton. He was in a tragic accident twenty years prior to story’s start, leaving him with a disability. His wife was severely ill and he had true yet unreciprocated love for his cousin who was in a sledding accident at end of the book which left her infirmed.

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  9. I believe Bernie Sanders was the only candidate who offered us a true change of pace, and I was infuriated with the Democratic shenanigans that gave Hilary the nomination offering us more of the Clintons ad nauseam. I recently read the book, “The Boy with the Red Striped Pajamas” and that is what came to mind when you asked about unfairness in literature. What a story, told so well from the viewpoint of a young German boy during the Holocaust – so innocent and trusting. To say the end was unfair is an understatement.

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    • Thank you, Shallow Reflections! In a “want change” election, the almost-always-consistent Bernie Sanders offered compassionate change while Trump offered chaotic negative change — or, in a way, not really change but more of the same favor-the-one-percent policies, on steroids.

      And, yes, any kind of Holocaust literature depicts unfairness to an unfathomable degree.

      By the way, I purchased your new book several weeks ago and hope to finally read and review it before the end of this month! Was planning to get to it sooner, but life has been a bit too busy… 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What has Trump accomplished since being elected? I can’t think of a thing except undoing as many of his predecessor’s accomplishments as possible!! I loathe the hypocritical excuse for a human being! Did you see where he said that Roy Moore should step aside if the allegations against him are true? What about the allegations against himself? And I would be willing to bet that Moore gets elected anyway. I’m embarrassed to be from Alabama!

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      • You described the despicable Trump and his despicable words and actions so well, lulabelleharris. And, yes, Trump certainly didn’t step aside after all the credible sexual-predator accusations against HIM.

        Unfortunately, every state has its dismaying politicians and other “leaders.” My state of New Jersey has plenty, including a governor (Chris Christie) who’s as vile a human being as can be found in any part of the country. Glad that there are also great people in every state, even as some states lean much more conservative than others.

        If there’s a hell, Roy Moore is going there…

        (I corrected the word “predecessor,” which was the only misspelling I could find.)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Great topic Dave as we know you were Bernie supporter and I was Hillary Clinton supporter. One year have passed which is unbelievable, seems just other day because I remember that night so vividly. I was unwell with acute laryngitis and lost my voice completely. Middle of the night opened my iPad to check nyt , the headline was ” trump has triumphed “, what a shock it was.
    Another election was last Tuesday and Ms. Brazile s book ” Hack ” came out in the most inopertune moment , but sigh of relieve the results were good for Democrats.

    But trump keeps on tweeting and N. Korea’s leader called him “old” and his feelings were hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, bebe! And I thought your comment was great!

      It IS hard to believe it has been a year since Trump got elected. Like you, I vividly remember that awful night. (Sorry you were sick on top of everything else.) I was at an election party at someone’s house, and everyone was getting more and more depressed as the evening went on. My younger daughter, who was with me, started crying after we got home. She is of Latina descent, and she was old enough to know what the white-supremacist Trump had said about Mexicans and other people of color — and about women, too, of course.

      As for your last paragraph, it’s weird that Trump can vilely insult countless people yet is so sensitive when people say things about him. He is just such an evil jerk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Couple of my friends daughters ended up crying, One voted for the first time and the other was a new months shy to be able to vote .i am also sad for Maria but she is so young and gifted , hopefully when her time comes situation will change. Also her older sister must be a big inspiration for her Dave.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It was a very sad night. Such a shame that people voting for the first time or close to voting for the first time had to see just how toxic American politics have become.

          Thank you for all those kind words, bebe. 🙂 I hope things will get better for girls, young women, and everyone else despite the Trump administration’s incredibly backward policies. But it won’t be easy. 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • Unfairness ? Yes Hillary had baggage also she did not cover States she was sure to win by focusing on fundraising instead of making sure no stones remains unturned.
            I wonder how Donna Brazile`s book will be doing. I have not read it nor I intend to. The lady was the interim chair for a few months and there she was accused of giving away question to Hillary and so was fired by CNN.
            Now what I hear when onetime Hillary collapsed in front of camera ( due to sickness) Ms. Brazile was tempted to switch Hillary`s position with Biden.
            I doubt D.B had that power ?
            Secondly what I understand , Dem committee was in serious debt and Hillary loaned them the money from the fund she raised. So IMO Hillary had every right to ask how the money is being spend.

            And now there is no going back for another 3 or 7 years and it is all our fault .
            America has a corrupt, greedy, liar and racist of a President !

            Liked by 1 person

            • Several excellent points, bebe. Thank you.

              The Clinton campaign made some serious mistakes and miscalculations, but Trump made even more of them and got away with it.

              Donna Brazile is almost as “establishment” as Clinton and a very imperfect messenger and should have said something earlier about the rigging. But, even though Brazile might mostly be trying to sell her book, I think there is some truth to what she wrote.

              Hillary giving money to the DNC did give her some rights as far as the $$$ being used wisely, but using the money to her advantage was far from democratic by the Democrat.

              And, yes, now we have the atrocious Trump — the problematic Clinton would of course have been much better.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I beg to differ Dave, yes Donna Brazile is important but there is no comparison to Hillary who did receive more than three million votes than trump .
                Bernie Sanders had his own baggage of his wife as well. Hillary loss was also for being a Woman I believe .
                America being such a powerful nation falls behind to the rest of the World even to the third world countries.
                But, Hillary will not run again but I hope Bernie Sanders runs, the gentleman has energy and his age should not be the factor.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Very true, bebe. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a lot, and would have been president if not for the painfully undemocratic Electoral College — which should have been gotten rid of before it even began.

                  And I agree that there was a huge amount of sexism involved in Clinton’s loss. Yet I believe someone like Elizabeth Warren would have beaten Trump.

                  Yes, the U.S. is now a loner/pariah in so many ways — including being the ONLY nation on the planet that doesn’t support the Paris climate change agreement. (I realize some countries are just paying lip service to it.)

                  I hope Sanders runs again. Being in one’s late-70s is a bit on the old side for a grueling presidential campaign, but, while a few years older than Trump, Bernie is in much better shape than the unfit (physically and mentally), junk-food-gobbling Predator-in-Chief.

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Okay, that one appeared. I’m about halfway through reading ‘Kindred’ right now and the era of American slavery was one of the most egregious examples of unfairness/injustice in world history. The U.S. coupled slavery with massively unfair treatment of native Americans. The Trail of Tears was a prime example of that. In fiction, that injustice is depicted first hand by the culturally ambidextrous Jack Crabb in Thomas Berger’s ‘Little Big Man’. His tribe is wantonly slaughtered at the Washita River by Custer’s cavalry and the survivors are scattered and displaced. Cosmic justice is enforced, to a certain extent, when Custer and his men are slaughtered at the Battle of Little Big Horn, also witnessed and survived by Jack Crabb.

      Back to slavery, the true story of Solomon Northrup in his autobiographical ‘Twelve Years a Slave’. Solomon was a free black man tricked into going to Washington D.C., where he is drugged and kidnapped and conscripted into a life of slavery. No recourse, no way to get word to anyone that can vouch for him (until the twelve years of the title have passed). It’s a riveting book, far more accurate than what I assume ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ is (never having read it). For one thing it is written by the person who experienced it, a black man, rather than the white, genteel Harriett Beecher Stowe.

      The Jewish holocaust of the Nazi era is another major chapter of unfairness. A notable example is William Styron’s ‘Sophie’s Choice’. Sophie was a Polish Catholic, a non-Jew who, nevertheless was captured and sent to the camps through a chain of unfortunate circumstances. That in itself is unfair but the horrifying ‘choice’ of the title that she is given is a supreme example of unfairness.

      Just as you can’t really have an engaging novel without conflict, you often see that conflict illustrated in some incident, or chain of events, that are massively unfair and propel the plot. It’s a guaranteed attention getter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Excellent and wide-ranging comment, bobess48, with a “says it all” concluding paragraph.

        Yes, the horrible treatment of Native-Americans, the horrible time of slavery, and the horrible Holocaust were unfair to the absolute nth degree. The books you mentioned are great examples of all three evil situations. (In the case of “Little Big Man” and “Twelve Years a Slave,” I’ve seen the movies only; with “Sophie’s Choice,” I’ve gotten to both the novel and the film — and that choice is indeed beyond gut-wrenching.)

        I realize the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” authorship by a white writer gives it less authenticity, but Harriet Beecher Stowe did her homework. When I reread the novel a few years ago, I was really impressed with Stowe’s insight and compassion, with the unsparing nature of her writing, and with just how compelling the whole thing was.

        Liked by 1 person

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