LITR261 Themes in Literature - Women
Department of Language & Literature: Literature
Course Number and TitleLITR261 Themes in Literature - Women
Number of Credits3 credits
Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester2250
Other Pertinent Information
- The Department of Language and Literature has determined that all literature courses must require a minimum of at least 2500 words in writing assignments.
- During the first week of class, the instructor provides students with a weekly suggested reading schedule for the semester.
Catalog Course DescriptionReadings and discussion in this course center on selected works of primarily but not exclusively American and Western European literature that portray female characters in prominent roles and explore the problems of women in their various societies. The works are drawn from various genres representing several centuries.
Required Course Content and Direction
- Course Students will
- analyze literature through discussion and writing;
- demonstrate an understanding of such literary terms, themes, strategies, and issues as are relevant to the works being studied;
- express their understanding of the relationship between literature and the historical/cultural contexts in which it was written;
- analyze the differences between men’s and women’s roles in literature, including stereotypes and archetypes of women, as a reflection of the historical and social conditions of women; and
- examine their own lives in comparison with those portrayed in the readings.
- Core (if applicable) Category I
- demonstrate knowledge and awareness of some components of our society’s cultural heritage such as artistic, historical, linguistic, literary, and philosophical foundations;
- compare, contrast, analyze, and/or defend differing world views and practices;
- demonstrate the ability to think independently by reading critically, thinking analytically, and communicating effectively in oral and/or written formats within the context of studying diversity in our culture.
- understand and express the meaning and significance of a variety of communications (Interpretation);
- identify the explicit and implied features of a communication, especially in arguments that put forth a conclusion. (Analysis skills);
- reason from what they know to form new knowledge, draw conclusions, solve problems, explain, decide, and/or predict. (Inductive and/or Deductive Reasoning Skills);
- communicate and justify clearly the results of their reasoning. (Presenting Arguments Skills).
- identify prejudice, stereotypes, and misuses of power that affect the lives of women and/or minorities in areas such as education, business, politics, religion, or industry.
Cultural PerspectivesStudents will
Critical Thinking and Problem SolvingStudents will
International, Gender, and/or Minority PerspectivesStudents will
Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:Readings explore social and cultural attitudes toward women as they have been expressed from Classical Greece, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, into the present period. Works include the several genres and may include historical documents as well as literature.
- Students enter the course both with and without training in verbal analysis of literature; therefore, a subsidiary set of objectives dealing with literary analysis may be imported as individual student needs dictate.
- Reading remains the basic learning method available to students although various means of instruction are employed: Lectures, group discussion, mock trials, role playing, individual or group presentations to the class, team teaching, library research, etc.
- Through reading, writing, discussion, and various class activities, students identify, explain, and analyze the following: formal elements of the literature, particularly images, image patterns, narrative strategies, diction, and structural divisions of the work; themes and thematic patterns; literary periods, movements, and terms as appropriate to the literature.
- The writing requirement complies with Department standards for literature courses, a minimum of 2,500 words. Writing assignments reflect the course goals that students can comprehend, interpret, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the literature.
- Because there are no prerequisites for literature courses, it is important that students understand the kind and quality of the writing expected.
- Students use various critical approaches as ways of assigning the meanings in the work; these include but are not limited to the major critical schools—humanistic, ethical, socio-cultural, historical (both the history of events and the history of ideas), psychological, mythical, and formal.
Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:
- Course To evaluate all course-specific learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.
- Core (if applicable) To evaluate all Core learning goals and objectives, instructors may determine the depth and quality of student comprehension and critical thinking through several analytical essays (2500 words total required), exams, quizzes, journals, oral or multi-media presentations, class discussions, conferences with individual students, service learning projects, and other methods as necessary to course content.
Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:Readings: Works may be chosen from the following list. Supplementary readings may be added at the discretion of the instructor. In writing assignments, the instructor shall try to incorporate some items from this list that are not covered in class.
Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (selections)
Pope, The Rape of the Lock and Moral Essay, Epistle II: Of the Characters of Women
Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Ibsen, A Doll’s House or Hedda Gabler
Wharton, The House of Mirth
Lessing, "To Room Nineteen"
Albee, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Wycherley, The Country Wife
Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"
Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Freeman, "A New England Nun"
Jewett, "The Town Poor"
Shakespeare, a play with women in prominent roles
Milton, excerpts from Paradise Lost
GENESIS, chapters 1-3
Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
Soyinka, The Lion and the Jewel
Garcia Marquez, "Death Constant Beyond Love"
Renaissance, Romantic, Victorian, and twentieth-century poetry selections
Teaching Methods EmployedSection VIII is not being used in new and revised syllabi as of 12/10/08.
Review/Approval Date - 5/99; Core Goals/Objectives added 4/04; Revised 5/2010