4. Women in film and fiction

young woman reading

We asked the LearnEnglish team to tell us about a book or film they like that has inspiring women characters. 

The Help

This film is set in Mississippi (in the American South) in the 1960s and tells the stories of Skeeter, a young woman from a wealthy white family, and of other women in her life, especially the black women who work in prominent white people's houses. Skeeter decides to write about them because she sees that despite playing essential roles in the homes they work in, these women are treated as second-class citizens. The women resist speaking frankly, for they could lose their jobs or put their families in danger, but eventually they begin to tell their stories, and people around the country find out about them through Skeeter's writing. The film is a favourite with the whole family; it's impossible not to admire the strength, courage and determination of these women.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women follows four sisters in their journey from childhood to adulthood in 1860s America. The four sisters are inspiring in different ways. Jo is creative, ambitious and aspires to be a writer in a time when it was mainly just men who held such roles. Meg embraces traditional roles but is selfless and dedicated to her family. Amy is a talented artist and is determined in pursuing love and success, and Beth has quiet courage and kindness. I really like it because it's a story which celebrates the resilience, achievements and personal growth of four complex female characters, and is still relevant over 160 years later.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

I love the character of Pilate in this novel. She is a mother and grandmother, and she is wise and seemingly able to do anything. She sings with her family every night, and by singing she keeps alive the traditional songs and wisdom they contain. It is one of these songs that sets another character in the novel on a journey to discover his own family history. Pilate's knowledge is his guide on this journey, so it's meaningful that the name 'Pilate' sounds like the word 'pilot'.

It's your turn

Write a comment and answer these questions:

  • Do you have a favourite book or film with inspiring female characters?
  • Who are the characters?
  • What do they do?

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Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

Submitted by itzzsuhana18 on Mon, 25/03/2024 - 13:21

  • Yes, a film called English Vinglish.
  • A woman who wants to improve her English.
  • She is a housewoman