Abortion Has Many Faces January, February, June or July is a novel written by Helen Porter. This novel deals with the issue of abortion through the characters Darlene Snelgrove, Shirley Novak, Heather Novak and Mrs. Sullivan. Through Darlene and Shirley, Porter subtly shows the stereotype of girls who accidentally get pregnant.
This stereotype is changed when Heather becomes impregnated with Frank Marshall's child. Helen Porter also uses these characters to show that different women have abortions for unlike reasons. In this essay I will explain how Helen Porter has faintly brought these points to my attention. Shortly after Frank had left for Alberta, Heather and Debbie were chatting over a plate of chips.
This is where the issue of abortion was first discussed. Debbie had overheard that Darlene Snelgrove had had an abortion. Darlene happened to be in the chip shop so Debbie told Heather the gossip. Debbie immediately gave her point of view on the issue: " 'I don't see how anyone can do that, do you?' Debbie's voice was rising again; Heather put her fingers to her lips. 'I mean, you might think it's just cos I'm Catholic but that's not it at all.
I don't care what anyone says, it's murder.' " I found it interesting that Debbie had a strong viewpoint on abortion because she was not very cautious when having sex with Harry. If Debbie's opinion on abortion were well thought out she would probably be more cautious when having sex. Debbie said: " ' But Harry says I won't (get pregnant), he knows all about what to do.' " I did not understand what it was that Harry knew. Helen Porter does not explain what form of safe sex that Harry and Debbie practice. I think that Porter is subtly showing how young and inexperienced Debbie is. She does not seem to know enough about safe sex to be having sex.
Heather and Debbie continue to hypothetically discuss getting pregnant. Debbie decided not to worry until there was something to worry about. Their topic of conversation returned to Darlene. Heather wondered who impregnated Darlene. Debbie did not know but said: " 'They says she's been with everything.' " I believe that Helen Porter was trying to show that young girls who get pregnant are often stereotyped.
Debbie believes that girls who sleep around are the ones who get pregnant. This is a label that is often put onto females in trouble. Debbie and Heather had recently attended a party at Donna Power's home. At the party, Darlene Snelgrove was passionately kissing a boy in the kitchen.
Later in the night, Darlene had gone up stairs alone with the boy. Helen Porter did not say what the couple was going to do upstairs. I think Porter included this action in her novel because it subtly shows how Darlene could be considered easy. I was not surprised when Heather and Debbie said that Darlene slept around because Porter portrayed her in that way at the party. Further into the novel Heather tells Shirley that she is pregnant.
After a lengthy conversation, Heather said: " 'I still can't believe it, girl. That's the kind of thing that should " ve happened to me.' " Shirley fits into another stereotype of girls who would accidentally get pregnant. She left school early and was now jobless. Shirley used to work at Kentucky Fried Chicken but quit because she did not like the working environment. She was waiting to receive her first check from unemployment. While waiting for government money to arrive Shirley would hang out with her boyfriend and sleep in late.
I believe that Helen Porter is portraying Shirley as a non-ambitious character. Shirley believes that accidental pregnancy should have happened to her and not Heather. I think, through Shirley, Porter is subtly describing another stereotype of young girls who accidentally get pregnant. This stereotype would be young girls who are not ambitious and have little education. Helen Porter has subtly shown that there is a label on girls who accidentally get pregnant. I believe that Porter disproves this label through the characterization of Heather.
Heather is a quite girl who is diligent with her homework and enjoys reading for pleasure. Heather's mother Eileen believes that Heather is her one daughter who will make something of her life. This type of character does not fit into the classification of young girls who accidentally get pregnant. Heather does not sleep around with an innumerable amount of boys and she is a promising young girl. When Heather told her sister the news, Shirley said: " 'You " re jokin', of course. Just tryin' to wake me up, are ya? You, pregnant.
That's a laugh.' " Shirley had trouble believing Heather because she does not fit into the stereotype of girls who get in trouble. I think that Porter included Shirley's reaction to stress the fact that good girls can also end up pregnant. Toward the end of the novel Helen Porter introduces the character of Mrs. Sullivan. She is a middle-aged woman who has also decided to have an abortion. Through the conversations between Mrs.
Sullivan and Heather, a little information about the woman is received. Mrs. Sullivan is a forty-four year old religious woman. She has decided to get an abortion because she has had seven children.
Her last daughter was born mentally challenged. Mrs. Sullivan explained to Heather that she did not think she was morally doing the right thing. I think that Mrs. Sullivan did not have much of a choice. She was living on welfare with seven children and a husband who was a recent recovered alcoholic.
After Mrs. Sullivan explained her situation to Heather she said: " 'But I still don't think what I'm doin' is right.' " This does not seem like an easy situation to bare. I believe that Helen Porter introduced this character to give another perspective on the kind of women who get abortions. Mrs. Sullivan is not a young woman. She has raised children and is not afraid of doing so but the money and family situation would make it difficult to raise another child.
This character is different from Darlene Snelgrove and Heather Novak because she is older and mentally capable of raising children. Her situation is different because she already has seven children and a husband. Helen Porter has managed to put different faces onto the stereotype of women who get abortions. In this essay, I have shown that Helen Porter was subtle when she implied that there are stereotypes on girls who typically get pregnant. I believe that Porter included Heather's character because she wanted the readers to know that this stereotype was false. Heather is a well-educated girl with a promising future.
She does not fit into the stereotype of typical girls who get pregnant. Mrs. Sullivan was an important character to introduce. This lady added a different face onto a woman who would typically be thought to have an abortion.
I would think that women who have abortions are mostly young girls. They have no means to support a child and are often left without a boyfriend to help. They view a termination of pregnancy as the best option. Mrs. Sullivan's character changed my opinion. I now think that women of varying ages can get an abortion for different reasons.
Helen Porter was subtle in the way she wrote these ideas into her novel. These are the things that I have interpreted from reading January, February, June and July through the actions of the characters.