Major spoilers ahead.
The Western concept of madness has been intrinsically tied with gender. The word “hysteria” finds its roots in the Greek word for “uterus,” eventually developing into the 19th century definition as a diagnosable mental illness in women.
In October, the year is waning. Time plays tricks on us in October: the daylight lessening, the nights “endless.” It is the month of hauntings too — of extended twilights and sudden changes in the wind. It marks the beginning of the period in which we recount the year that has passed us by. It is the time to remember.
“This land is not your land,” Zhang writes at the beginning of “Hills.” America, with its ideal of freedom, exercises this very freedom with the continual subjugation of disadvantaged groups.
When I was younger, I read the typical books of my generation: "Harry Potter," "Narnia," "Percy Jackson," etc. I grew up with characters that didn’t look like me and never thought twice about it. As I grew older and moved onto the works of Hemingway and Salinger, I had already unconsciously equated being white to the blank slate in literature.