The Female Persuasion


Meg Wolitzer

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Themes and Colors
Female Friendship and Mentorship Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude  Theme Icon
Activism Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Female Persuasion, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Female Friendship and Mentorship

Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion is written with a parodic and often scathing eye turned toward contemporary feminism and what it means to be a “good” feminist. Throughout the novel, being an ally toward other women—loving them, helping them, teaching them—is held up as the main tenet of “good feminism.” As the story progresses, however, the triad of women at its heart—Greer Kadetsky, her mentor Faith Frank, and her college friend Zee

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Family and Community

In The Female Persuasion, the main characters’ families are almost all struggling with intense issues related to trauma, pain, inadequacy, and shame. Greer Kadetsy’s stoner parents find themselves bewildered and intimidated by their type-A, go-getter child. Greer seeks refuge in her boyfriend Cory Pinto’s family, who provide a haven of relative stability, normalcy, and encouragement—that is, until Cory’s younger brother Alby dies in a tragic accident. Zee Eisenstat’s parents—both judges—have difficulty…

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Sociopolitical Power vs. Personal Fortitude

Political power and personal fortitude are, within the world of The Female Persuasion, rendered as two very different things. As Wolitzer’s characters navigate young adulthood, they struggle to discern the difference between what it means to have political or social power and what it means to be personally empowered. Those with traditional power in the novel are not necessarily strong on the inside or in possession of powerful convictions, while those with the most…

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The Female Persuasion is full of characters who consider themselves activists or who aspire to activism. Faith Frank is a revered crusader for women’s rights, and when she comes to speak at Greer Kadetsky and Zee Eisenstat’s college, it lights a fire in both young women’s hearts that will change the course of their lives forever. After college, however, when Greer joins Loci (Faith’s somewhat nebulous women’s organization) and Zee pursues on-the-ground activism as…

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