Study Guide

Nation Women & Femininity

By Terry Pratchett

Women & Femininity

History has taught us that a woman's place is to cook, clean, give birth, and raise kids. Her story, on the other hand, has taught us that a woman's place is wherever she wants to be. Daphne finds her place in—surprise!—the Woman's Place. We're not sure if that's a good thing or not. In Nation, the Woman's Place is shrouded in secrecy from Mau and the rest of the males who have no idea what goes on in there. What goes on in there, you ask? Well, what you'd expect from a place called the Woman's Place: making beer, midwifery, surgery. You know, the usual.

Questions About Women & Femininity

  1. In the Woman's Place, Daphne learns how to do many things almost spontaneously. Is it instinct? Are there things that all women just know?
  2. Ataba says that his duty is to drink beer, and a woman's duty is to make it. Are there such things as men's duties and women's duties?
  3. To Mau, the Woman's Place is shrouded in an alluring mystique. Does Daphne think men are mysterious, or does she seem to understand them better than Mau understands women?

Chew on This

Without her "useless" feminine manners, Daphne wouldn't be able to survive on the island. They give her the patience to communicate and the politeness to respect other cultures.

Nation shows Daphne that a woman does have her place, it's just not the place she expects it to be.