Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Going by the Moon & the Stars: Stories of Two Russian Mennonite Women // Review

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

Going by the Moon & the Stars: Stories of Two Russian Mennonite Women // Review

Article excerpt

Going by the Moon and the Stars: Stories of Two Russian Mennonite Women Pamela E. Klassen Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1994; 151 pp.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Thompson Toronto, Ontario

In her introduction to Going by the Moon and the Stars, Pamela Klassen offers her book as "an opportunity to reflect on how two women have constructed their religious lives," choosing two Russian - Canadian Mennonite women as her subjects. To some extent the book is a biography (of Agatha and Katja) which reflects on the nature of autobiography, specifically women's autobiography. But Klassen also examines the ways each woman's religious life has been affected by events in her life: childhood in Russia, flight from Russia during the Second World War, emigration to Canada. Then Klassen goes beyond the study of two specific women and attempts to construct critical theories of female identity:

In more theoretical terms, this book examines how the construction of identity occurs in relation to the multiplicity of gender, political, religious, family, class, and ethnic plots (from the introduction).

Klassen attempts first, in the introduction, to establish her critical bases, referring to women's life writing, defining religious terms, giving details of Mennonite history. This is a complex, layered, critical approach, although none of the areas is developed at length within the rest of the text.

In Chapter 1, the two Mennonite women "Tell their Lives." Here Klassen allows her subjects to speak for themselves, uninterrupted by critical assessment. …

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