Choirs and Split Voices: Female Identity Construction in Lorrie Moore's "Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?"

Fagan, Monica
April 2006
College Literature;Spring2006, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p52
Academic Journal
Moore's novel is, in many ways, a story about growing up. The fiercely intimate friendship Moore depicts between two girls, Berie and Sils, and the effects of that friendship on Berie and Sils as adults push us to ask ourselves: is this the way all girls mature into women, or is this just the path that these particular fictional girls follow? As it happens, Moore's portrayal of female maturation closely mirrors the path Adrienne Rich and Carol Gilligan argue many, if not all, girls follow. The novel's clever narrative structure, in which a discontented middle-aged woman remembers longingly the emotionally intimate friendship of her girlhood, reveals that, at least with Berie, women who experience such intimate friendships in adolescence may feel as though the rupture of such friendships results in a rupture of their sense of self. Moore's novel encourages us to re-examine the notion of sisterhood and how female friendships affect the lives of girls and women.


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