Fall .5 unit
“The original person was two halves, one male, one female. Then these got separated. That's why everybody's always searching for their other half. Except for us.”--Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex
What does it mean to be female? To be male? What about individuals who do not fit the norms of either group? This course explores literature that reexamines traditional barriers of gender, from Shakespeare’s cross-dressing heroine to Charles Portis’ gun-toting girl-protagonist. Class discussions examine how behavior, bodies, and ideas of self and society help create female identity and, more broadly, human identity. Students learn about gender’s historical contexts and study a variety of genres: the novel, memoir, short story, film, drama, and non-fiction. In addition, students examine the gendered roles played by characters in class texts as well as in their own lives. Possible texts include Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, and Margaret Cavendish’s The Convent of Pleasure, Charles Portis’ True Grit, and Jeannette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. This course includes summer reading, which is outlined on the school’s Web site.
Open to: 11/12