Critical Review of Soledad Brothers

The word ‘woman' was mentioned by George Jackson over forty times within his letters from behind bars in Soledad Brothers . The author ' s attitude towards wome n must therefore must be analyzed as a prominent theme within the book , as it is one that is so thoroughly addressed from start to finish . Jackson's view of women, African American women specifically, is demonstrated in the letters he wrote to women he was close to as well as his father. While he acknowledges the strength of a woman, his condescending, patriarchal and borderline misogynistic view is present until the conclusion of the book, where it is amended slightly .
Jackson's pejorative take on women's views and thoughts is repeated throughout the text. Readers are first made o f aware of it in his February 19 6 6 letter to his mother . In it h e describes her outlook on life as "bourgeois and feminine" and says that the real world requires a man's way of thinking, thus belittling her perspective and labelling it unsuitable. Instead he chooses the ‘predatory' life view men hold as one which is conducive to living and superior to a woman's view. This shows how he holds a man's thinking and outlook in higher esteem than that of a woman. This vantage point is further illustrated in his May 21 and July 23, 1 967 letter s where he states explicitly states that women should never be allowed to express their opinions or attempt to think and any woman he was with must have their mind retrained by him . He clearly sees women as having sub- par comprehensive capacities or thought processes and that men's ' perspective is preferred. This demonstrates his patriarchal view in the context of women's intellect.
Women also appear w eak and dependent to Jackson. He describes their need to be dominated to " supplement their wea kness" on July 23, 1967 and needing an overseer . This is corroborated by his September 24, 1967 letter which equated children and women and said both needed a guiding hand. H is December 1966 letter is a real-life illustration of this principle; while showing concern for his sister Penny he says it torments women to know they're alone. His opinion is t hat women need some form of boss or superior to keep them happy. The "guiding hand" and " overseer" may be deduced to be male . These phrases show that Jackson view s men as authority figures upon whom women must lean on and seek to mak e up for all that they lack . Without these men, women are helpless and unhappy.
His slight misogyny is made apparent when he describes women as only caring about "money honey". The March 2 1970 and May 21, 1967 letter s show t h at he sees women as leeches who only ca re a bout physical commodities such as clothes and money . Nonetheless , he willingly acknowledges positive qualities within women . His March 3 1996 letter speaks to the strength of Black women within the Black community. In his letter, he notes the ability of women to hold the Black community up as well as keep it together , even within the raciall y charged atmosphere that existed .
The role of women in family as the matriarchal support figure is described in his 1970 letter to Angela Davis. He admits that women, mothers specifically, push and encourage males to do better instead of being stagnate. He also attributes their strong impetus to women, He also acknow ledges the beauty of Black women in his August 17,1968 as he chastises his mother for upholding the western beauty ideals which he considers absurd.

The book comes full circle. "I understand exactly what the woman's role should be. The very same as the man's. Intellectually, there is very little difference between male and female. The differences we see in bourgeois society are all conditioned and artificial" This quote found in the May 28,1970 letter found towards the conclusion of the text shows that his views changed; he now sees women as equals in all capacities