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The Female Persuasion | Study Guide

Meg Wolitzer

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Course Hero. "The Female Persuasion Study Guide." Course Hero. 1 Dec. 2019. Web. 27 Jan. 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. "The Female Persuasion Study Guide." December 1, 2019. Accessed January 27, 2023.


Course Hero, "The Female Persuasion Study Guide," December 1, 2019, accessed January 27, 2023,

The Female Persuasion | Symbols



Cory's younger brother Alby has a turtle, Slowy, that represents speed, care, and longevity. The nature of his name and the fact that he is a turtle are constantly being juxtaposed with faster things like a scooter, a desire to grow up, and the changing of life itself. The juxtaposition alludes to the fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare," and through this connection the turtle comes to represent the belief that careful consistency wins in the end. He also represents the enduring nature of legacy—the idea that what we leave behind will remain even when we do not. Alby has gone, but his turtle remains and reminds Cory of his brother. He picks up Alby's research observations of Slowy and begins applying the research method to himself. It is through these observations that Cory begins to cope with Alby's death and his own emotional state. When their lives move quickly and the characters need to slow down or reflect, Slowy the turtle makes his appearance. The primary example is the last sentence of the text, which shows Greer being reflective but also encourages readers to be reflective of their own lives.


Fashion peeks its head through the pages on multiple occasions, but the one constant is the reference to Faith Frank's boots. Faith's boots come to symbolize her power and stature both socially and physically. Her boots on a literal level make her taller, but it is the social aspect that helps develop the novel's themes. Greer and Zee both look up to Faith and place her on a pedestal in their lives, similar to that of the heel of a boot. This parallel imagery feeds into the theme of mentorship but also that of struggle. The struggle to stay on top, the struggle to get to the top, and the struggle to be level with others are all associated with Faith and by extension her boots. Boots make legs look sleek and put together when they may not be, which also connects to Faith's inability to share her real self with anyone. Other characters in the book only know the Faith she lets them see: dyed hair free of any gray; composed, unaffected public speaker; loving mother; encouraging mentor; and friendly, confident feminist.

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