The author describes the totally utopian world, over which Damocles’ sword of threat hangs, since men’s rule would destroy the universe completely with their nuclear weapon. To ensure the survival of all humanity, women and a few selected men have to cooperate and make constructive decisions.
Women’s Country a collection of villages and towns, consists mostly of women, while men life far away in warrior garrisons, which resemble Spartan encampments where life is composed of the ‘meaningless’ demonstrations of ‘honor’, or, as Tepper implies, aggression and might. The author, showing her scorn to militarism, depicts another category of men – ‘the servitors’ , who decide to leave the garrison and join Women’s country, and whose main function is impregnating women and thus continuing the life chain on the Earth. Women’s Country is the source of strict order in this post-apocalypse world, since it shows some kind of organization and even bureaucracy. Whereas the men are demonstrating their ridiculous honor and decorating their garrison with ribbons, banners (and having no access to novel technologies of the women) , the women are reorganizing civilization, discovering again everything which was lost during the war. On the other hand, life is not exactly perfect in Women’s Country, but its inhabitants are living their long range plan for civilizing existence and the species, and finding a refreshing attitude towards the life.
That is to say, Tepper in her book is really interested in binary oppositions, such as ‘war -peace’ , ‘man- woman’, ‘desctructivism – constructivism’. For instance, she casually narrates how Women’s Country has got rid of homosexuality, since it was "caused by aberrant hormone levels during pregnancy" (Tepper, 1988, p.81). Tepper illustrates men and women on the opposing sides of barricade, since gender is a most strict binary in the world. Tepper makes an effort to cover over a number of controversies by calling the controlling women’s assembly the Damned Few (ibid, p.11). To my view, this ‘label’ has its explanation – these women are ‘damned’ since they attempt to rebel against their social roles (and, presumably, against their femininity), which have been existing for ages and destroy the inner world order.
As for me, Tepper in her book illustrates the evil of war, using, among other tools, a powerful device of ‘a ply within the narrative’, dealing with Trojan War in the play ‘Iphigenia at Ilium’. The author clearly shows the status of woman at the times of Ancient Greece: Iphigenia is sacrificed for the sake of good sailing weather, Polyxena dies at the tomb of Achilles, Hector’s little son is killed only because he is the son of the defeated political leader. Thus, the play is the reflection Tepper’s personal attitudes towards war and cruelty., which are hard to explain in depth because of the complexity of human nature. On the other hand, ‘Iphigenia at Ilium’ can be seen as a representation of the values attributed to women of the Women’s Country as well as to men of the encampments. As the plot of the novel develops, one might see changing structure of the society, values and emotions, which are parallelized to those from ‘Iphigenia at Ili