Is True Grit's Mattie Ross a genuine feminist hero or merely a woman who mimics traditional masculinity?
That question will be explored by a panel of experts looking at Charles Portis' 1968 novel and both the 1969 John Wayne and 2010 Coen brothers film adaptations in Mattie Ross - A Portrait of Feminist Heroism or Traditional Masculinity? on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch 4801 Main St.
Panelists Brenda Bethman, Adrianne Russell,and Crystal Gorham Doss -- led by moderator Jane Wood -- discuss the concept of the female hero and how this image has evolved. They will delve into questions of the media portrayal of women (with special note to the Western genre), diversity in female depiction of heroism, and current activism in the Kansas City area to empower women and girls.
Wood currently serves as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. Formerly she was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of English at Park University. Her most recent book is The Theme of Peace and War in Virginia Woolf's War Writings.
Bethman serves as director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Women's Center and as affiliated faculty in German in the UMKC Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. She recently published "Obscene Fantasies": Generic Perversions in Elfriede Jelinek .
Russell is coordinator of public programs and events at the Kansas State University Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. She writes the blog Cabinet of Curiosities.
Doss is assistant director of composition in UMKC's Department of English. Her areas of interest include 20th century American literature, and literary theory with an emphasis on feminist and gender theory.
This event is part of the Kansas City Big Read celebrating True Grit. The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture and bring the transformative power of literature into the lives of its citizens. The Big Read brings together partners across the country to encourage citizens to read for pleasure and enlightenment.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP at kclibrary.org  or call 816.701.3407.