Women's Literature

Directed Study in English:  Women's Literature

Course Objectives

  • The literature of this course is specifically focused on the work of and about women.  This focus is both to provide a more rounded scope of literature and to examine the problems and possibilities with reading women's literature.  A variety of genres, time periods, and authors will be considered to promote diversity within the traditional Western Canon.
  • A variety of stances or literary criticism schools will be considered along with the reading including feminist, cultural, psychoanalytic, and post-colonial criticism.
  • Students will 1) read and understand literary works; 2) analyze selected authors' themes, philosophies, and styles; 3) understand the universality of human characteristics as presented through literature; and 4) write both analytical and expressive papers on the texts read.
  • Writing may include literary analyses, literary criticism, impromptus, reflective essays, response papers, informational presentations and the option of creative writing such as short stories, poetry and/or plays.
  • Students will use their journals as a place to respond to reading, work on writing, as a form of self-discovery and as a learning tool. 
  • Some assignments will involve research using both the library and the Internet.  Multimedia presentations will be options for some projects and required for the final exam


A Room of One's Own (Woolf)  *

Mrs. Dalloway (Woolf)  *

"The Yellow Wallpaper" (Gilman)

Jane Eyre (Bronte)  *

The Awakening (Chopin)  *

"In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens" (Walker)

The Handmaid's Tale (Atwood)  *

The Bluest Eye (Morrison)  *

The Hours (Cunningham)  *

Selections from:  Silences (Olsen), Come Along With Me (Jackson), and The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women : The Traditions in English

*  These are books that students must get ahead of time on their own by borrowing from a library, bringing a copy from home, or purchasing their own copy

Grades:  Cardmarking grades will be averaged based on:

1. Tests (objective and essay) (%) on all major literary works and periodic quizzes (=1/3 of test grade)

2. Major papers & projects, all graded according to rubrics

3. Homework assignments, discussion participation, and text commenting (margins, post-its, or journals)

Final Exam & Final Semester Grade

This semester's final exam will be a multimedia web-based presentation with specific guidelines and will count as 20% of the semester grade.

Each cardmarking grade will count 40% of the final semester grade with the remaining 20% from the final project.


As this course is an independent study for a small group of students scheduled for different hours the following requirements must be met.  Students must check in with me at the very beginning of their scheduled day and hour for attendance and to pick up any assignments.  After this check-in, the teacher and student will agree what and where the student will be working for that day on this course's work (i.e. my room, library, etc.)

Furthermore, mandatory meetings of all members of this course will occur in my room for both travels during the first seminar period of each week.  This time will focus on in-depth discussion of the reading and our response and analysis of it, and these discussions will make up the substance of the learning.