Henry Handel Richardson's satiric story cycle 'Growing Pains: Sketches of Girlhood' ,i traces the emotional and sexual growth of a composite protagonist, from early childhood in 'The Bathe' to marriageable age in 'Two Hanged Women'. Jeannette Foster's opinion that the stories are integrated and constitute an etiology for a homosexual woman is unarguable. However, Foster's view that they represent a 'trial flight towards a novel centred on a woman' is a less productive insight, and her brief description takes no account of Richardson's satirical purpose, or the fiction's perspective of value.2 The stories, which dramatise the pressures on girls and women towards heterosexual conformity, parody conventional representations of heterosexual romance, while writing against contemporary sexual theory. Richardson's developmental cycle, published between 1929-1934, Is Innovative in form as well as in the degree to which it values its sex variant protagonists. Female sex variance is viewed not from a biological but from a socially critical perspective very much in advance of other contemporary literature on the theme in English.
Franklin, Carol, H.H. Richardson's 'Two Hanged Women'. Our Own True Selves and Compulsory Heterosexuality, Kunapipi, 14(1), 1992.