Miss Monica Cardenas

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My research is focused on literature's role in the evolution of women's fertility rights in the United States from 1960. Three landmark Supreme Court decisions have played a significant role in women’s right to control fertility. The subsequent representation of mothers in three novels over the same period of time - The Bell Jar, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Patron Saint of Liars - examine the repercussions of these rulings. My research identifies specific techniques employed by these writers that allowed them to contribute to a body of literature that has changed the narrative around women’s fertility rights. I blog about contemporary novels that represent non-maternal women and motherhood as choice. 

My creative work utilizes the techniques of the novelists I have studied to demonstrate the danger of a society that seizes control over women’s fertility. My writing is borne of my interest in fertility rights and children’s well-being, as well as the often misunderstood “maternal instinct.” 

I have experience teaching undergraduate literature seminars, as well as participating in and leading fiction writing workshops. I have worked as a writing tutor for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and volunteer with Action Tutoring, supporting pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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