JNow these brief plot summaries donnot do justice to the undeniable art:istrynthat these novels possess. The narrativenvoice in each is clear, engaging, andnsu^estive of the complex nuances ofnhuman emotion. But the depiction ofnthe women themselves, as heroines ornas secondary characters, causes one tonmarvel at each w^oman’s naivete. Forninstance Marshall’s heroine mourns, in anlong dream-memory sequence, the corruptionnof her life and her husband’s.nWhere once they had danced to the seductivenstrains of black jazz singers andnaccepted their poverty, they can nonlonger do so after the arrival of threenchildren. Now they must struggle tonachieve financial success, the husbandnreturning to college in his thirties andnestablishing an accounting firm. Hernwork as a civil servant enables them tonpurchase a home in a white suburb,nthereby achieving the status and securitynthat have become their goals. Butnshe sees this success as having beennbought with her soul—specifically, hernblack soul. In denying the heritage shenknew as a child in the black South and innembracing the “white” values of worknand money, she has become spirituallyndead. But surely all adults look back nostalgicallynon the lighthearted pastimes ofntheir youth, activities in which theynwere free to indulge because they didnnot have the responsibilities of raisingnand supporting children. And surelynworking to support oneself is not an inherentlyndehumanizing activity forcednon one by “white” values. It seems thatnMs. Marshall wants to have it both ways:nshe wants to condemn the wealth andnleisure work can provide, but withoutnthat wealth and leisure one would notneven have the luxury of an identity crisis.nAnd what about the Jewish women?nThe mother wants only to be supportednand so she marries an older widowernwho is a successful pediatrician. But shenalways feels that she is sharing him withnhis late first wife. She turns to her husband’snmedical partner for comfort, andnthey continue for the next 30 years aneo-iUothersnI liimuii t()llii-s arc. Dl’onirsi.-, unrutlnmiahlcn:ind as old as the c:irtli. thii.s thi- latestnfad of fatht-rlfss conceptions and “I’amilics'”ni.s new onl- in a Leehnologleal .sense.nThat .sometimes a woman has lo a.ssiiniensole responsihility tor her liunily heeaii.sena man h:Ls deserteil her. perished In a war,nor otherwi.se made her suddenly a widownis not new. Vt’luit’s «<‘«’ is the s(x:i(K:ultur.ilnpropa^:inda advocating solitary motherhoodnin the face of life’s dilemmas andnperils, and die demented contempt ofnm;ui as a jiosilive component of a woman’snexistence and of the l;imily”s spiritiuil welfare.n’Ihe recent trend of hringin}; up childrennwithout fathers is a direct ottspringnof the feminist mystique, and the militantlyntrendy i’ii’ > ‘i)rk maga/ine rivently .scrutiiii/ednthe phenomenon in a long featurenoo/ing with inane admiration for “thesenunwed mothers | who] :ire exploring unchiirtednterritory.”n'[•he ft)remost me.s.sage tliat the .VCM’nYork story conveys to an unprejudicednmind is tliat human consciousness, perception.n:uid self-evaluation e:ui sink intona tireakLsh ahyss under pres.surc from culturaln^a.shions. A woman who. ic .sati.sl’ynher yen to Ix- the “vice-pa’sident of onenof the largest .Madi.son Avenue publicrelationsnagencies” and have a fiitherlessnchild at the same time, “casually ‘Jrop|s|nher liaby” of 18 moiitlis in a junkie-inlesli-dnarea witli “ten kids in | a| .small, liltliy nx>ni”non l-tth Street (Manhattan’s idea of anchild-can- center), explains her moralnstance:n.Vs ii ciiv kid. .SIK-‘II huvt- tii Iciul fiir lier-n.si’lf. I grt-w up in a vvn shilli-ixil eiivininnii:nt.naiKl I wunt il lo Ix- ilill’t-reni tor mynchililri-n.nIn her feminist barbarity .she .seems unawaren(a vice-president of a .Madison .venuenfirm, mind you) that even primatesndo not exptx’t their ofl’spring to fend fornthemselves at that stage of infancy.nThis kind of nonchalant attitude isnLiHKR VI ClLTl’Ri: 1nnnheartily supported hy mindles.sly modishnscientisLs. such as one .Martin Oihen. an”clinical p.sycliologist… on the faculty ofnNew Nork Ho.spital- :i( ail.nTill- inflnite agglomeration of .sorrows,ntonnenls. ilesixiirs, :inil neunises tliiit mustnresult from the engineering of human fatenthat he .so callously endcjrses in the namenof “progrexs.” “change.” or soci(KVonomicnconditioning obviously means nothing lonliim. lie reaches an apex of cruel idiocynhy promulgating:nIW Oman’s I ivliitionthip with a 111.111 isnl’)a.S(-d (111 i.s.siics like power, sex, andnsliurin}>.nIfs a strange, lohotomi/ed psychologynthi-y must be teaching these days at (lornell:niJie wonl “love” hits di.sappL-arei1 Iroinntheir lexicon.n•VcM’ )’ork next presents a sad grotesciuerie:nfiithi-rless chiklren Ix-ing pnxluccjlnwith the help of artitici:il insemination.nOne ol’tlie pioneer mothers is reportednto have “checked off her genetic preferencenon a (jne-page chart.” .She then “paidnSifii) to he artificially iasemiiiated fourntimes.” Her past sexual acti’ilies. a .seriesnof one-night stands. Vwr i’lirk calls withninimitable siiavir-her “s