A memoir based on the most personal emotions of a person wouldn’t immediately be associated with the word “wounds,” but when one thinks about it, the baring of our heart’s most personal desires and losses are wounds we heal from in everyone’s lives. bell hooks bares hers in Wounds of Passion, a reflection that is simultaneously blunt as well as retrospective. She weaves in the issues of the day for women with the definition of womanhood in modern society and birth control. But at the same time hooks also attaches memories to her muses and poetic guides who taught her how to write better. She is at once both her writing as well as devoted to it. So, it strains, leaps and suffers with her in her writing. Wounds of Passion is hooks’ redefinition of finding love intimately in the framework of feminism, using her own life as the stage and actor to explain the concept better.
Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life
By the time that Wounds of Passion arrived and was published, bell hooks had already put her name out firmly in the modern feminist literary world with 14 prior works. A prolific writer by conservative terms, hooks has continued to transform herself from a teenage girl with a gift for words to the academic powerhouse scholar she is today, bringing womanhood, African American psyche, and modern feminism together in multiple facets. hooks repeatedly uses herself as the writing stage, evoking both memories and images of her own life to play out the concepts and messages she wants the reader to take away. Love, sex, growing up as a woman, race, gender roles and writing are her fertile soil for germinating her works. And her experience as a black woman defining her femininity centralizes the path of Wounds of Passion as hooks works through heartbreak and loss to pursue stronger, closer personal love.
But Wounds of Passion isn’t a soppy, self-deprecating exercise seeking sympathy from the reader. It’s bold, blunt and at the same time passionate about what a woman defines love as and what she learns to make it be as she grows over time. Too often society dictates what love is for a woman, from cultural rearing to gender role expectations and then sexuality functions. hooks discredits that and replaces the same energy with her own views and definition of passionate love that a reader walks away with feeling why not define the same for him or herself as well.