The Woman Narrator

In this course we will
consider the effect of a woman narrator on our experience of a novel.  Author and narrator being distinct, a
writer’s gender does not necessarily determine the gender of her or his
narrator.  The factors that do determine this choice and its
consequences in the quality of the narrative, including its effect on a reader,
are issues we will consider in this course. We will read works written by authors
whose choice of a woman narrator in invites our curiosity and questions. As we
read these works, we will also consider why writers who choose a woman narrator
do so to emphasize issues of identity that inflect gender (such as ethnicity),
and complicate the narrative; and we will consider, as well, how a writer’s
shifting the gender of a narrator in the middle of a work affects our
reading.  Overall, we will remain attuned
to the effect a woman narrator has on how a narrative strikes us as readers, influencing
our reception and understanding of the works we encounter.

Texts (All available
at Revolution Books except Chaucer which will be scanned to Laulima):

  • “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale” (Modern
    English trans.) from The Canterbury Talesby Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Orlando by Virginia Woolf
  • Beloved Toni Morrison
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by
    Jean Rhys
  • Sista Tongue by Lisa

and Evaluation

  • Three 4-page
  • Casual
    in-class writing assignments & several brief reading quizzes
  • Final
  • Participation
    and Attendance