FFC is a weekly event created by Ryan at Wordsmithonia.
Ayla from The Clan of the Cave Bear and the entire Earth's Children series by Jean M. Auel.
If Ayla were a real historical figure, she might have been the first woman in history to stand for women's liberation. And though she is a fictional character, I like to think that there really was an Ayla in prehistoric times who dared to stand up for a woman's right, and ability, to accomplish anything a man could. Ayla is not a Neanderthal, but a Cro-Magnon, and when she is taken in by the "clan", she is not readily accepted--by some less than others. When her totem (an animal spirit guide) is determined to be a cave lion--a particularly strong totem for a woman--Ayla is seen as even more of a threat. When she picks up a weapon, a rock sling, and learns to use it as well, or even better, than the men, she is severely punished for breaking the clan law of women being forbidden to wield weapons. Now you can see why I think Ayla is the prehistoric poster child for women's liberation!
On a side note, I will say that I think the use of the stronger cave lion totem for Ayla was the author's way of using symbolism to show that "the others" (Cro-Magnons) were stronger and superior to the Neanderthal. This is something that we, of course, now know to be true because the Cro-Magnons prevailed and the Neanderthal died off. However, it has been proven more recently that the Neanderthal were not quite as inferior to us as originally believed. Whether they did indeed die out or assimilated with Cro-Magnons is still yet to be proven.
Sorry...I didn't mean this to be a science lesson! Truly, Ayla is one of my favorite characters because The Clan of the Cave Bear is one of my most favorite books. It was recommended to me by my high school English teacher--my favorite teacher--Mrs. Fitch. I have not read the rest of the series yet. Scandalous, I know! It has been almost 25 years since I read the first one, but I have never forgotten it...that's how good it is. I own the entire series and I will read them all eventually! *with a determined set of her jaw*
If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.