The Crone Conspiracy: The Literary Evolution of the Aging Woman
The infrequent appearances of "old women" in myth and literature are often limited to the negative stereotypes of witches, nags, or fools. Examination of European mythologies as well as medieval, renaissance, early American, and modern literature will provide obvious recurring archetypes for this discussion. Our paper will analyze works by various classic authors, including St. Paul, Geoffrey Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Dickens. The reasons we posit for this bias are patriarchal church systems, misconceptions about gender and aging, and cultural expectations. As more women of age become women of power, they no longer passively accept the old stereotypes and images. The voices of Maya Angelou, Sandra Cisneros, Dr Jane Bolen, and Maureen Murdock offer new messages. In a dynamic, modern culture, older women searching for their own identities in the media and creating their own power groups are subsequently resurrecting and recreating the Crone Goddess.
Keywords: Gender Stereotypes, Ageism, Literature, Mythology, Crone, Cultural Bias, Media, Women, Cultural Changes
Ms. Vicki Ronn
Teacher, USD 457, English Department Chairperson; Senior Project Coordinator; English Teacher, USD 457, Garden City High School
Ms. Kaylene Daugaard
Teacher, USD 457, English Teacher, USD 457, Garden City High School