"Women, I learned, adapted. At first..they seemed so fragile, so dependent on fathers and husbands and brothers and lovers. Gradually, though, I noticed how supple their lives were beneath the surface. Then I realized it was this flexibility that enabled them to survive...that sooner or later, by choice or by chance, most women faced the task of adapting to a future on their own. When at my most optimistic, I thought of it as independence; in darker moods, as survival. Either way women had to do it."