Focuses on the reading, discussion, and written analysis of literature by (or perhaps about) women from the Middle Ages to the present. The materials include drama, poetry, novels, short stories, diaries, memoirs, letters, and essays. Students will have the opportunity to explore 1) the interaction of dominant and marginal cultures as reflected in literature and 2) the relationship of the students' own experiences to other women’s lives as portrayed in literature.
Goals, Topics, and Objectives
- Introduction to literary terms and methods of discussing literature.
- Introduction to literary movements and historical eras.
- Introduction to feminism and feminist criticism.
- Introduction to concepts of genre, publication, and authorship.
- Introduction to aesthetic and cultural dimensions of women's literature.
- Reading a wide and representative selection of women's literature.
Students should be able to accomplish the following: 1. Formulate an interpretive thesis (as opposed to one which merely reports something factual about a literary text). 2. Compose an essay which either
- analyzes a literary text, for example by focusing on literary elements such as theme, character, setting, point of view, plot, imagery, metaphor, symbolism, etc., or
- analyzes the characteristic themes, features, and / or techniques of a given writer's works, or
- analyzes more than one literary text by comparing and contrasting works by more than one woman writer from a different historical period, social class, or race.
- Identify a range of key literary terms that are essential to an introductory-level understanding of literature by women.
- Explain the crucial importance and/or distinctive achievement of some of the key women writers.
- Identify and analyze principal works and passages reflecting some of the key themes reflected in literature by women.
- Discuss the specific and peculiar functions of some of the literary genres as employed by women writers.
- Practice methods of literary criticism and cultural theory within the study of women's literature.
Note that a grade of C- is not transferrable and is not accepted by some programs at HFC
Assessment and Requirements
General: Assessment may include (but need not be limited to) quizzes, class participation, essays, and exams. But assessment must include a minimum of 2,000 words of formal literary analysis.
- Students will write at least one out-of-class essay of literary analysis that is at least 1,200 words in length.
- Students will take at least one written exam which requires them to analyze literature; whether a single essay or multiple shorter responses, this expository component will count for at least half of the credit for that exam.
Students will read substantial and representative selections of literature from various genres by women from the Middle Ages to the present.
Students will read a substantial and representative selection of literary texts that explore the following themes: femininity, feminism, gender roles, the Eve/Mary dichotomy, the cult of the Virgin, the cult of domesticity, the femme fatale, madness, marriage, women’s suffrage, sexual orientation, oppression, conformity/rebellion, and marginalization.
Students will regularly engage in thoughtful discussion of the assigned readings.
Students will study (through assigned readings and / or classroom discussion) the cultural contexts from which the literature emerges.
Students will study concepts that are essential to an introductory-level understanding of literature by women writers, such as character, conflict, plot, setting, theme, symbol, point of view, metaphor, rhyme, meter, allusion, irony, autobiography, essay, short story, novel, lyric poetry, journal, diary, memoir, and epistle.
Students should learn appropriate biographical information about assigned writers when such information could be helpful in understanding the literature.
Students should take quizzes on assigned readings.
Students should keep a journal in which they record their responses to assigned readings and class discussions.
Students should learn to place the major assigned writers and texts on an historical time line.
Students should satisfactorily read at least one poem or passage aloud, either in class or in the instructor’s office.
Instructors should welcome and support the diverse identities, backgrounds, and academic experience of our students as essential foundations for college community.