Olsen, an activist, feminist and an influential and widely taught fiction writer who narrated and experienced some of the major social conflicts of the 20th century, died Monday night, two weeks before her 95th birthday….
Politically active and class conscious, joined to the world as if every soul were a soul mate, Olsen countered the literary myths of her male peers. She did not immortalize the cowboy or the outlaw, but the woman who stayed home. For her characters, the open road did not lead to freedom, but only to the next job….
For much of her early life, she was worker, wife, mother and journalist. She was arrested three times for union activism, and spent several weeks in jail after passing out leaflets to meatpackers.
“The charge was making loud and unusual noises,” Olsen recalled with a laugh during a 2001 interview with the AP.