The persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin
How sad that over one hundred years later we still have people in the world with the same archaic mindset of the 1800’s. Mildred and her cousin Edra were lesbian lovers, but after the reaction of the locals over the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde in Great Britain; where he was sentenced to 2 years hard labour for gross indecency, (same gender sex) Mildred decided it would safer for her and Edra if they were extra careful to hide their relationship from the townsfolk. Mildred; the more confident of the pair, decided to make the town believe that she was interested in Charley, a local man whose wife had recently died.
This is a well written story that manages to get across a variety of opinions by exploring the ideals from different characters perspectives. From the God-fearing who believe everything the Bible says as fact, to the likes of Gus, the local shop keeper who believes life experience is better to make our choices by than any written word. Josie; this towns `Mrs Oleson’ was only happy when she was gathering her minions and convincing them to persecute someone she was jealous of making her feel superior to them all, was my least favourite person. The scene set was frustratingly like any high school of today making me realise that although we like to believe we have moved on and become less feral like, we as humans really haven’t changed one bit, and on the whole we prefer to judge than live by the `live and let live’ ideal.
Paulette Mahurin did a great job at building our sympathy for the main characters Mildred and Edra, while opening our eyes to the bigotry of the day. It was an interesting tale that held my attention to the end and I hope that some of today’s less `open minded’ people will read this and think again their out dated opinions!