Tin country

Wilfert, Alaura
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Tin Country, a novel in short stories, is a coming of age story that focuses on the turn of this century. The collection takes on the subject of girlhood, tracing childhood and adolescent experiences, relationships, and realizations that shape Ruth Wright's, the narrator, struggle to reconcile the past and find self as she moves into womanhood. Tin Country is the narrative of one woman and her drive to live fully - to re-examine the important ties to other women who enable her to envision herself as a survivor, giving her strength to travel back and (re)envision her past. The stories in the first half of the collection place Ruth as a child. The stories look at the myths of girlhood, race and class issues, religion, and friendship. The second half of the collection addresses finding a sense of self, identifying the self as a survivor, accepting the past, and moving forward. The collection focuses on relationships between women, exploring the metaphorical divide between men and women in our society and examining how men, as a symbol of patriarchal culture, influence women. The stories look at the complicated effect that patriarchal society and organized religion have on women. Since women have limited access to public platforms even today, the women in Tin Country rely on myth and oral tradition because they do have access to that. The women use myth and fairytale as a means of protection and survival, borrowing myths from various cultures and creating their own myths. As Ruth journeys through her past, she realizes she is no longer a victim but a survivor. In rejecting traditional roles of women, Ruth rejects the patriarchal society that dominated her past and accepts the dark, realistic hope found within the natural world of her future. Water is an important theme in all of the stories. Water - sometimes overwhelming and suffocating and sometimes safe and mothering - works as a mirror, reflecting the self. The title of the collection comes from the fifth story. The title both represents the world within the story, "Tin Country," and the place from which all the stories generate.