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The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Fifth Edition
Paul Lauter, General Editor
Sample Assignments

Responses to Marriage in Late Nineteenth Century Women's Writing
Lois Leveen, April 26, 2001

Description of approach to teaching with the Heath Anthology:
I pair Gilman's 'The Yellow Wall-Paper' with Kate Chopin's 'The Storm' in a lecture about how authors critiqued marriage in the late nineteenth century. Although the stories are very dissimilar (in style, pov, plot, etc.), the lecture emphasizes some broad thematic similarities and then delineates the distinct features of each work.

Description of the course in which the approach to teaching with the Heath Anthology was used:
The course was a 60 student lecture for English majors at UCLA; it fulfilled a pre-1900 requirement and focused only on US fiction. Because the students did not have discussion sections for the course, I tried to combine lecture format with questions I posed to students about interpreting specific aspects of the literature.

Course coverage:
19th Century (Survey)

What pedagogical goals do you think this approach to teaching with the Heath Anthology achieves:
I wanted students to think about two things. First, how two very different authors and plots could engage with the same theme, in this case the perception of marriage as restrictive. Second, I wanted them to recognize how formal elements, such as setting, figurative language, narrative pov, and a story's ending, could be used to promote the story's themes.

Relevant URLs:
None listed.

Keywords:
Constructing heterosexuality
Constructions of femininity
Gender
Narrative form
Narrative point of view

Related authors and groups:
Kate Chopin
Charlotte Perkins Gilman



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