The Official Writing Challenge
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03/12/09
The depth to your MC is a tribute to your excellent writing skills. It was as though you had gone through this terrible ritual yourself. Well done.
03/13/09
Oh, I am repulsed and thrilled at the same time. Thrilled, because I want to thank you heartily for writing on this horrible practice (no matter how accepted it may be).

I saw it live on Sixty Minutes, years ago, and I was truly traumatized by it. Is there no limit to the selfish imagination of mankind, I wonder? Very well and bravely written.
03/13/09
I think the foreword was very appropriate in view of the very intimate material presented.
Yet excellent writing. Is it my imagination or are stories on Africa darker and more brutal than for those of other parts of the world?
I thank God that in this part of Africa where we live and work, female cicrumcision is not practised. Yet we have our fair share of other horrors.
Well done - although somehow that doesn't quite seem the right expression!
03/13/09
Wow...excellent writing. Your MC's voice was so real. I have heard of this ritual previously, but your writing really brought it to life.
03/14/09
Heavy, difficult and necessary writing. I thought about this topic, but could not handle it. Superbly done. Thank you, i know it was heart-rending.
Mona
You presented a clear view of how this abhorrent practice is considered normal in Africa. Though very, very sad, your story is well written.
03/16/09
Oh my. SO disturbing, but incredibly written. Made my stomach turn, but made me ache for these women. Masterful.
03/16/09
This was appropriately heart wrenching and disturbing. I am proud of you for finding a prudent way to approach this subject, and I pray it opens the eyes of those who are unaware of this ritual or its widespread practice. Very well written!
Honestly? I never knew women could be castrated. That is disturbing in itself. The horror and the pain that must be involved ripped through my being.

You were right in saying this is not for the squeamish. I don't consider myself so, but was shaken by this.

Thank you for your masterful, sensitive approach to this matter.
Oh, this has leaves me with tears in my eyes and my stomach roiling. You did an excellent job writing this... my heart aches for women that have had to go through this and still do... stealing something so precious, created by the God of the universe...
03/16/09
I've heard of this horrendous mutilation but I can't imagine it having any positive purpose. Good job in tackling a difficult subject.
You were very brave to tackle such an intimate subject. Well done on something so sad and awful.
03/17/09
You have done a great job with this subject. It was written with a true compassion for the women who must endure this horrid mutilation.

The only very minor red ink I could offer is that nearly every paragraph starts with "I". VERY minor compared to the power you have put in this entry. In fact, I'll probably receive more negative comments about how minor that is than you will get for your wonderful writing.

Well done.
Incredible writing. I was left feeling very sad and frightened for those women. I'm sure your story will stay with me for a long time.
03/17/09
Outstanding writing, and heartbreaking, and still you made me care deeply for this dear woman.
03/18/09
Wise to have that warning!

Everyone else has said it all ... eye opening, sobering, thought-provoking ... well done.

You said on the hints page that you wanted constructive criticism so I offer this thought simply as a thought - don't know if it is right or not. Most (not quite all) paragraphs begin with 'I', which makes sense because the MC is telling her own story. I wonder, though, if it could be improved yet further but just using 'It was...' or something sometime.

Like I said, this isn't a real criticism ... just a thought because you asked for it to be read with a critical eye and feedback given. Truly, you've tackled a very difficult subject and done it well - good on you.
03/18/09
I had heard of this horrible practice, but you really brought it to life. I was shaken and reminded again to pray. Thank you for this powerful story! Well done!!!
This is so sad! It is horrible that some societies in Africa still practice this.
This is very well written - great job presenting it in a way that is real, but not more graphic than it needs to be...
I'm in awe of your writing skill! To handle such a difficult, heartbreaking subject with sensitivity is truly a gift. This story will remain with me for sometime.
03/18/09
Well done Cat, excellent handling of a difficult topic. Very clipped, almost clinical writing.
03/18/09
Very brave, bold writing. Fantastic in fact. Really well done about a really barbaric practice.:(

My red ink would be for the second last paragraph. Plastic doll - would she have a plastic doll? With her being from a rural tribal-type village this word stuck out.

Would she have a doll at all? I wouldn't think so at marrying age. I could be wrong.

I stumbled over "I cannot imagine a man would prefer this to the the warm, supple, softness of my girlhood." which I did not think was in keeping with her 'young girl' voice.

I was confused as to how old she is.

She is getting married.. (Well that can be as young as 12.) She has a dolly. She talks about the suppleness of her girlhood. They don't all fit together into the same voice in my mind.

That's just my opinion.

Maybe it would have been good to say outright how old she is "I am in my fifteenth year .." or whatever.

Also, would the correct term not be "circumcision" instead of castration? Castration means to render impotent / unable to reproduce.

Rite of Passage is a very good title.

Love your writing. :)
Difficult to read, but powerful in its delivery. Very few could have handled this subject as well as you have. It informs with an empathetic, almost clinical voice without being needlessly provocative.
I love a well researched piece that is presented with the same passion as it was researched with. Bold enough to keep my interest and well written enough to impress my senses.
03/18/09
Wow, that was powerful writing. What an awful ordeal to have to go through. I agree with the comment that you wrote it as if you had experienced it yourself.
I'd like to be one of the first to congratulate you on placing 3rd for masters and overall! Even with all you saw that was flawed; this is an amazingly written piece.
03/19/09
Oh, how horrible... yet so incredibly well written! I ached for this poor young girl, and all those who have to go through this. Congratulations!
03/19/09
I know you debated whether or not to submit this. Thank you for having the courage. You were wise to include the warning, but the challenge would have been very much the poorer this week without this entry. The longer I live in Africa the more feminist I become. I'm not proud of that, but knowing how women are abused wholesale all over this continent makes my blood boil. We are not supposed to ignore evil but to expose it. Well done for doing so.
08/19/09
Wow. I'm sure this was hard to write. Thank you for researching and sharing this with us.