Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Literary Pregnancy

23 Apr

Maybe this is nothing. Or maybe I’m on to something. I’m not sure. Either way, I’d love if you could chime in and let me know if I’m going crazy.

I noticed this a while ago and brought it up to my husband who shrugged, brushed it off, and let me move on. But I brought it up to him again on Monday and he told me I might as well blog about it. So I decided to try listening to him for once.

Does anyone else feel like far too many fictional females get pregnant?

I’m usually not bothered by it, but I’m in the middle of reading The Alice Network by Kate Quinn which includes three pregnancies. I’m also reading The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel which involves a pregnancy. I feel like I’m surrounded by literary fetuses and I think I’m overwhelmed.

I think there are a few reasons for this. Becoming a mother is a major life change and gives a lot of character development. Also, sex makes for good plotting and pregnancy can be a result of sex so books move in that direction. Pregnancy also builds tension because of unknown due dates or unknown fathers or pending abortions. This can lead to emotional turmoil, also good for tension. These are mostly dramatic results, there’s also happiness and joy but those don’t seem to be turning up in the books I’m reading.

I noticed this first when I was reading Armada by Ernest Cline. Two of the characters are intimate once and the woman gets pregnant. It seemed a bit too convenient for me. I get that it happens and it only takes one time, but I think it happens disproportionately in literature.

And that’s where my frustration lies. Pregnancy in books seems to defy the odds of nature. The amount of failed birth control and virginity-losing pregnancies in books seems to be a good bet in Vegas. It just doesn’t seem possible. I was so convinced Eilis in Colm Tóibín’s Brooklyn was going to find herself pregnant that I was shocked when she didn’t.

Maybe I’m rambling. Maybe I’m off base. Maybe I’m spot on. What do you all think? Is the fertility of fictional woman off the charts? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Until next time, write on.

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