Women's Movement critically explores the transgressive potential of feminist escape narratives and argues that they are, almost by definition, radically different from paradigmatic male escape narratives. While definitions of escape are necessarily broad, they have too often excluded the ambiguous escape - the escape most closely associated with the female. Indeed, feminist escape narratives often resist a happy ending, and Women's Movement argues that these narrative closures reflect the changing face of feminism, as it sheds its old certainties, is faced with a monumental "backlash" and is refigured as the potentially less threatening "postfeminism".
Resisting the automatic association of "escape" with "escapist," Women's Movement analyzes male adventure and quest narratives, including Moby-Dick, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Blood Meridian, and Deliverance, before turning to a range of feminist texts. While being the first book to give critical attention to some postfeminist novels, Women's Movement more often acts as a channel for offering different ways of approaching familiar feminist texts, including, among others, Marian Engel's Bear, Atwood's Surfacing and The Handmaid's Tale, Joan Barfoot's Gaining Ground and Dancing in the Dark, Anne Tyler's Earthly Possessions and Ladder of Years, Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying and Margaret Laurence's The Diviners.