51 pages 1 hour read

Miriam Toews

Women Talking

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2018

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Part 2Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: “June 6: Minutes of the Women Talking”

Part 2 Summary

The first day the women meet begins with them symbolically washing each other’s feet in an act of “service” mirroring Jesus’s actions before the Last Supper. Most of the women are wearing sandals with socks pulled all the way up to their dresses, but the two teenage girls wear sneakers and leave a bit of skin “rebelliously” exposed between their socks and hems. They nearly giggle during the foot-washing ceremony.

Greta opens the meeting by explaining that her two horses, Ruth and Cheryl, respond to threats by bolting. She suggests that because the men have treated the women like animals, they could respond like animals. Salome proposes murdering their attackers instead, to some consternation. Agata counters with a story about a mother raccoon who killed the dog that had killed three of her babies: She says that the animal comparison is a moot point, as animals can respond in different ways.

Mariche suggests the real issue is whether they should forgive the men or seek vengeance, and the women discuss the possibility that they will be barred from heaven if they leave the colony. However, Mariche feels that staying might be worse, as it would force them to choose actively between salvation and forgiving the men.