About tragedy: I think of a Lakota woman I knew. She was descended from a nineteenth-century chief whose name is well known. When she stood or walked, she was straight as a birch tree — the kind of straight you cannot learn from balancing books on your head. It was my impression that the inner woman was like that too.

She was not afraid of men or situations and she was arresting to look at but – despite a fair number of applicants — she found no partner in life. The man who would have complemented such a woman just wasn’t there. Bury my heart at Wounded Knee. In his place were all the demoralized, defeated and brutal candidates for her affections, not one of them what he should have been. She did not pity herself. But she did not look elsewhere than the X where history had planted her. Her life marks that spot. Her story is tragic.


About Abigail

Abigail Rosenthal is Professor Emerita of Philosophy, Brooklyn College of CUNY. She is the author of A Good Look at Evil, a Pulitzer Prize nominee, now available in an expanded, revised second edition and as an audiobook. Its thesis is that good people try to live out their stories while evil people aim to mess up good people’s stories. Her next book, Confessions of a Young Philosopher, forthcoming and illustrated, provides multiple illustrations from her own life. She writes a weekly column for her blog, “Dear Abbie: The Non-Advice Column” (www.dearabbie-nonadvice.com) where she explains why women's lives are highly interesting. She’s the editor of the posthumously published Consolations of Philosophy: Hobbes’s Secret; Spinoza’s Way by her father, Henry M. Rosenthal. Some of her articles can be accessed at https://brooklyn-cuny.academia.edu/AbigailMartin . She is married to Jerry L. Martin, also a philosopher. They live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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2 Responses to “Tragedy”

  1. Kate says:

    What is tragedy? What does it mean to fail as a woman? I think that there is no one answer – it must vary from woman to woman.…

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