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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 389

In Meg Wolitzer’s The Female Persuasion, Greer Kadetsky is a small-town girl who is determined to do something big with her life. She is smart and works hard, yet her parents mess up her college financial aid and she can’t go to her first choice school. Her boyfriend, Cory, goes off to Princeton, and Greer goes to what is essentially her safety school. She is miserable and lonely, and she is sexually assaulted by another student. She reports it after learning it wasn’t an isolated event, testifies in a campus hearing, and is angry when nothing comes of it. Then her best friend at school, Zee, brings her to a talk by Faith Frank, a magnanimous feminist who inspires Greer to live up to her potential.

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Greer meets Faith in the bathroom at the talk, speaks with her for a couple of minutes, and gets her business card. The meeting makes a lasting impression on Greer, but it is some time before Greer reaches out to Faith. Greer ends up working with Faith and rising to personal success, though at the same time her personal relationships suffer. She betrays Zee; she argues with and breaks up with, then gets back together with Cory. Both Zee and Cory are having their own struggles with family and work. Zee is having trouble fitting in at her teaching job and is trying to navigate a difficult work relationship that becomes intimate. Cory’s mother accidentally runs over Cory’s little brother Alby with her car, and Cory has to quit his job to return home and take care of her after his father leaves her. He joins her cleaning houses, uses drugs with his cousin and then on his own, and then becomes lost in Alby’s old video games.

Faith sacrifices her integrity to keep business going. This horrifies and disgusts Greer, but Faith points out that Greer, who has betrayed Zee, is not in a place to judge. Greer reveals the truth to Zee, who is hurt, and Greer returns to her hometown to try to face Cory.

Cory ends up becoming a successful video game designer, Greer a bestselling author, and they get married and have a baby. Their babysitter is a feminist who looks up to Greer. Greer feels as though the future is bright.

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