Alex E. Blazer Course Site Assignments Description
Materials Assignments Policies Schedule


Women Warriors / Women Writers

English 367.02 (07746-4): The U.S. Experience as Reflected in Literature

Winter 2000, M/W: 11:30 - 1:18 P.M., Denney Hall 256


Instructor: Alex E. Blazer

Departmental Phone: 292-6065

Mailbox: 421 Denney Hall Office Phone: 292-1790
Email: Office: 525 Denney Hall
Web: Office Hours: M/W: 1:30-2:30;  T: 12:30-1:18


Course Description


This course will explore American female consciousness through literature by American women.  We'll examine different women's diverse and contradictory feelings about biology, gender, sexuality, patriarchy, feminism, and women's writing.  The one thing that makes them a community (and we shall certainly debate this, my bias, in class) is their efforts to battle (men, women, their respective cultures in general) for control and agency over their identities.  As we read the poetry, plays, a novel, a television show, and a film, we'll also develop critical thinking skills that allow us to not only interrogate but also appreciate the literature that we experience.  The goal is not merely to understand their themes and theses, but rather to question them in order to define ourselves.  To accomplish these important tasks, we must practice argumentation; we must articulate ourselves in open class discussion, and—perhaps more importantly—in writing.  Besides constant class participation, we'll submit short response papers to the course web-based discussion page, write weekly quizzes that explain significant passages of the literature we're reading, and delve deeply into one work in a four-page paper.  In order to further our studies and raise our own arguments' credibility, we'll incorporate what others have written about these piece of literature—cursively in an annotated bibliography and fully in a research paper which be shared with the class as an oral presentation.

Course Materials



Chopin, Kate: The Awakening, Norton Critical Ed.

Hellman, Lillian: The Children's Hour

Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior

Rich, Adrienne: Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose, Norton Critical Ed.


Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature, 5th Ed.

(2nd Ed. available at Main Library ETC Reading Room, PN83.G72 1986 c.2)


Assignments and Grade Distribution


3 web-discussion submissions (250 words each at 5% each), 15%

You must sign up to write 2 papers which respond to particular reading assignments, 1 to literature and 1 to criticism.  These semi-formal papers should 1) report theses, issues, and, contexts of the work as well as define key terms, 2) respond critically to the work, and 3) ask two questions or identify two issues for class discussion.  One will be on a primary text (a work of literature) and one will be on a secondary text (a work of criticism).  Because the response to a critical work precedes the two-person group presentation (see below), group members may write a collaborative response of 500 words to both works.  The third submission will be an abstract of your research paper in progress.  Because your peers and I need time to check the web, papers/abstracts for Monday's class must be submitted to the course web-based discussion page by noon Saturday, those for Wednesday's by noon Monday.

an oral presentation (10 minutes), 5%

As noted above, this assignment is used in conjunction with the response to a secondary source.  However, the written and the oral work will be evaluated separately.  In the presentation, besides simply restating the pieces' theses, two-person groups should put the articles in conversation.  Where do the critics' interpretations coincide, where do they split, and—of course—why?  As the presentation should lead into class discussion, concluding with questions or issues is suggested.  More instructions to come.

a four-page paper (typed, double-spaced, 1000 words), 25%

This explanatory annotation paper should either explain an assigned reading's most significant passage or compare/contrast two assigned readings's most significant passages.  More instructions to come.

a preliminary bibliography (20 sources), ungraded

Due before the annotated bibliography, the purpose of this assignment is for you to determine if you have a researchable topic.  If your search strategy does not locate approximately 20 sources, your topic needs to be rethought and you should confer with me.

an annotated bibliography (10 sources, 50 words per annotation), 10%

As preparation for the final research paper, the purpose of this assignment is to compile and evaluate sources for a research topic or author.  Annotations should summarize theses or controlling ideas and discuss the validity of the text's argument.  More instructions to come.

an eight-page final research paper (typed, double-spaced, 2000 words), 30%

The paper should either 1) extend a conversation regarding an assigned reading by     researching others' interpretations of the work and/or comparing it with selections of the author's other work, 2) read and research another work by a female writer (subject to my approval), or 3) researching a topic or issue initiated in class conversation.  The paper must incorporate and quote at least 4-5 secondary sources.  More instructions to come.

class participation peer response, quizzes, 15%

This grade is determined by both class participation and the peer responses for first drafts ofthe explanatory annotation paper and the research paper.  Peer responses, of approximately 150 words, should be critical yet sensitive in their evaluation of the form (thesis, support, style, voice, organization) and content (thesis, argument, use of evidence) of their peers' first drafts.  Class participation is vital in illuminating the multiple perspectives of the controversial issues and the divergent interpretations of the assigned readings that we'll be discussing.  In order to participate in class, you must have read the assignments.  To get the conversation started, approximately every other class we'll have a brief quiz and two or three students will be selected at random to read their quiz, to which the class is expected to respond.

extra credit

Composing a 250-word discussion response to a piece of secondary (critical) reading of an author who we've recently read or will soon read, will elevate your response paper grades, depending on the quality of the response.  Composing another will elevate your quiz grades.  These must be done before oral presentations begin.


Course Policies


The Web-based Discussion Page

The course web-based discussion page provides two functions—first, to share writing and ideas that provoke in-class discussion; and second, to make course announcements and reminders.  I encourage all to read these informative messages, not to mention share your perspective with the rest of the class; but, obviously, anything above and beyond the three assigned responses is not required.

Late Assignments

There will be a one letter grade deduction per day for all assignments that are turned in late. An extension may be given if absolutely necessary and warranted.

Drafting and Revision

First drafts of the explanatory annotation paper and the research paper will undergo peer response—and my response if you so desire—from which you can revise a second draft which will be turned in for a grade.  Though I will not grade first drafts, I do require (and check) that they meet at least three-fourth of the page limit—three pages for the first paper, six for the research paper.  Failure to meet this minimum will result in a one-third letter deduction from the paper's final grade (an “A" will become an “A-").  If you provide your peers no draft at all, you will earn a one letter grade deduction on the final grade.  The explanatory annotation paper, but not individual responses, or the research paper, may be revised once after receiving a grade with my comments for a new grade assessment.


After the first paper, but before the annotated bibliography, you must sign up for an individual conference in order that we can talk about your first paper and research paper topics.  Though no more conferences are required, I encourage you to see me during my office hours (or by appointment) to talk about any course concerns you have.


Don't do it.  Using someone else's words, ideas, or work without proper citation and representing it as your own is the most serious of academic offenses.  All cases of suspected plagiarism will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.


Unexcused absences  will not be tolerated.  Family emergences, illness/injury with doctor's note, jury duty, athletic or other collegiate competition, religious holidays, and so forth constitute excused absences.  Bring notes within one week of your return to class or I will not accept the excuse.  Two-thirds of a letter grade will be deducted from your final grade for every unexcused absence beyond two.  (An “A"will become a “B+".)  Five unexcused absences will result in your failure of the course.  I do not tolerate tardiness either.  Two unexcused tardies equals one unexcused absence.  Tardies will affect your grade.  I strongly suggest not being late because quizzes will be given in the first five minutes of class.  If you know in advance that you have to miss or be late for a class, please notify me beforehand in order that we can make arrangements regarding missed work.


On the Monday after finals week, I will have your final research papers ready for you to pick up.  Make an appointment with me to retrieve your work, or I will discard it after two quarters.

Writing Center

The staff of the Writing Center serve as readers and responders to writing for English 110, English 367 and other university disciplines.  Besides giving feedback, these English graduate students can help with other writing issues such as topic development, organization, coherence, clarity, and self-editing.  To make an appointment, call 292-5607 or stop by 485 Mendenhall Labs M/W 8:30-5:30, T/R 8:30-7:30, and F 8:30-1:30.


The Ombud is a resource for students and teachers of English 110 and 367. If you have any concerns about the course but feel you cannot speak with me, please feel free to consult with the Ombud.  All conversations are confidential.

Ombud: Mike King Office: Denney Hall 363
Office Hours: M/W 8:30-9:30, 12-5 Office Phone: 292-5778
              T/R 1:30-4:30 Email:

Office of Disability Services

If you have any specific needs or concerns, please feel free to discuss the issue with me during office hours.  Students with disabilities who need accommodations should be registered at the Office for Disability Services (292-3307).


Course Schedule


This schedule is subject to change, so listen in class and check online for possible revisions.


Week 1

Introductions, Syllabus Concerns

Bishop: “In the Waiting Room" (3pp, course packet or Reserves)

Please print this syllabus, Strategies for Reading and Writing, and Bishop


Atwood: “Fiction: Happy Endings" (4pp, course packet or Reserves)

Kizer: from “Pro Femina" (3pp, course packet or Reserves)

Piercy: “Barbie Doll" (2pp, course packet or Reserves)

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (5-13, 146-150)

Writing a Position or Response Paper

Week 2

Gilman: “The Yellow Wallpaper" (12pp, Reserves)

Glaspell: “Trifles" (12pp, Reserves)

Tyson: “Feminist Criticism" (21pp, Reserves)

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (15-26)

Writing an Essay Examination or Quiz


Chopin: The Awakening (3-59)

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (27-55, esp. character, theme, symbolism)

Paper 1 Prompt: Writing an Explanation or Comparison Paper

Week 3
No Class: Martin Luther King Day Observed

Chopin — continued (59-109)

Chopin criticism (sign up for approx. 10pp, included in The Awakening)

3 to 5 group presenations

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (153-173)

Writing an Explanation or Comparison Paper — continued

Week 4

Hellman: The Children's Hour (3-53)

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (57-81, 175-191)

Writing an Explanation or Comparison Paper — continued


Hellman — continued (54-70)

Hellman criticism (sign up for approx. 10pp, Armato/Falk, Lederer, Sievers; Reserves)

1 group presentation

Writing a Peer Response Paper

Print Peer Response Questions and Sample Peer Response

Due: Paper 1, Draft 1

Week 5

catch-up day

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (83-112)

Due: Paper 1, Draft 1 Peer Responses


Rich: Adrienne Rich's Poetry and Prose — TBA from the 1950s/1960s (30pp)

Rich criticism (sign up for selected articles, approx. 10pp)

1 group presentation

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (241-261)

Revising a Paper

Week 6

Television Episode: The X-Files, “Humbug"

½ class read Wilcox and Williams: “‘What Do You Think?': The X-Files, Liminality, and Gender Pleasure" (22pp, Reserves)

½ class read Parks: “Special Agent or Monstrosity: Finding the Feminine in The X-Files" (22pp, Reserves)

1 or 2 group presentations (no debate, each group work on 1 essay)

Research Paper Prompt: Determining a Topic and a Question

Due: Paper 1, Draft 2

***meet in Lord Hall Room 19 (first half of class only)


Research Paper Prompt: Finding Sources

***meet in Brown Hall Public Computing Site

Peruse CCL's handout on using OSCAR

Week 7

Rich — continued — TBA from the 1970s (30pp)

Griffith: Writing Essays about Literature (193-240)

1 group presentation

Annotated Bibliography Prompt: Writing an Evaluation of a Source

Print Annotated Bibliography Assignment and

Sample Annotated Bibliography

Due: Preliminary Bibliography (20 sources)


Rich — continued — TBA from the 1980s (30pp)

1 group presenation

Documenting Sources

Week 8
Film: Orlando

½ of class read Wood: “Images and Women" (15pp, Reserves)

½ read Stacey: "Desperately Seeking Difference" (14pp, Reserves)

1 or 2 group presenations (no debate, each group work on 1 essay)

Kingston: The Woman Warrior (1-16)

Writing an Abstract

Due: Annotated Bibliography

Week 9

Kingston — continued (17-110)

Writing a Research Paper

Due: Abstracts on web-based discussion page


Kingston — continued (111-209)


Writing a Research Paper — continued

Week 10

catch-up day

Due: Research Paper, Draft 1


Conclusions, Evaluations

Due: Research Paper, Draft 1 Peer Responses

Due: Research Paper, Draft 2 by 5 P.M. Wednesday