(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

An Emergence of Green is a contemporary story of two women’s lives as they meet and fall in love and struggle with the reality of their experience. The novel is set in suburban Los Angeles during the 1980’s. One of the women, Val, is a struggling artist with an eight-year-old son. Carolyn is a neighbor who lives with her husband of eight years.

Katherine Forrest writes the story from a lesbian perspective, which creates strong women characters. Val is the stereotypical lesbian; she is tall, big, and strong in stature and presents an alarming persona to the straight world, especially Carolyn’s husband. The women become good friends, and as they acknowledge their physical attraction to each other, they become lovers, which creates additional problems for the relationship and marriage of Carolyn and Paul.

As an artist, Val is most aware of the color of things in nature, at home, and the colors that people do or do not wear. The book’s title is a reference to Val’s explanation that moving to a more green place signifies more life, a different life, a life potentially filled with more growth. As the story continues, the women become victims of Paul’s violence and hatred of Val. He is insistent that Carolyn is his property, that he has given her all the material comforts possible, and that she has no reason to no longer belong to him. Carolyn has over the years given her life away, changed jobs, changed houses, changed her...

(The entire section is 435 words.)


(Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)

Suggested Readings

Boutelier, Nancy. “Breathing the Rarified Air of Freedom.” Lambda Book Report 4, no. 8 (January-February, 1996): 6.

Brownworth, Victoria A. “No Mystery.” The Advocate 655 (May 17, 1994): 50.