Study Guide

Angle of Repose Women and Femininity

By Wallace Stegner

Women and Femininity

Susan Ward, the heroine of Angle of Repose, is one down chick. She's an artist and writer in an era when women were expected to be nothing more than housewives. She lives in the Wild West at a time when ladies were even rarer than gold. She even becomes the breadwinner for her family. In other words: Susan was a feminist before feminism was cool. Although Susan earns a lot of respect in our book for these forward-thinking moves, she ultimately pays the price for her indomitable nature—in more ways than one.

Questions About Women and Femininity

  1. In what ways does Susan buck the gender stereotypes of her time?
  2. Compare and contrast Shelly's and Susan's respective approaches to feminism.
  3. Is Lyman a misogynist? Explain your answer.
  4. Why is Oliver so opposed to using Susan's money for the family?

Chew on This

Susan is such an exceptional woman because she is able to subvert traditional gender stereotypes while still using her femininity to her advantage.

Oliver gets angry about Susan using her money for the family because he thinks that it's inappropriate for a woman to supersede the authority of the man of the house.