English 250-9213: Women in Literature

This is a generic syllabus, without dates, to let you know what to expect.

The course listed is an intersession, one-week course, though it is sometimes offered as a semester course. 


Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Signet)

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness. (Ace)

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (Fawcett/Crest)

Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower. (Warner/Aspect)

These books will be required texts for the January 7-11 course. Students must read the first four before the class begins. I've listed paperback editions, but you may use any available edition.

We will discuss readings in this general sequence: first column is a novel, second is short stories from handouts, third column is poetry and articles. Please read them in preparation for each day's work and discussion. Class will meet from 8:30-5:30 each day from January 7-11. Attendance is required; this is very important-arrange your lives so you can come!

Be ready for a quiz each day on the previous day's class and the readings for the day of the quiz. 


Short Stories

Poems, Handouts

-Introduction, Library visit


film in class: The Making of Frankenstein

Seneca Falls Declaration, (handout)

 The Left Hand of Darkness

Le Guin, "Nine Lives"

Selection from Understanding Ursula Le Guin

Poem--Emily Dickinson

 The Handmaid's Tale

Wilhelm, "Mrs. Bagley Goes to Mars"

poems by cummings and Simon (handouts)

 Parable of the Sower

McCaffrey, "The Ship Who Sang"


 Individual Presentations





The Making of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

The Handmaid's Tale

The videos will be in the classroom--you can look at them at lunch. Some parts we'll view in class, but not all.


The day's schedule will go like this (approximate times)

9:00 am: quiz on previous day's class. The quiz must be taken at this time, no later

9:30-10--responses to quiz

10:00-10:30--journal writing

10:30 break

10:45-12:30 lecture and discussion of day's reading. Study sheets for responses. Library work.

12:30-1:30--lunch with movies

1:30-2:30 project reports

2:30-3:30--guest lecture, website exploration in library, original ideas


4:00-5:30 poetry, games, news, preparation for next day's readings

In addition, students will choose another book by one of these authors or another project to report on to the class and to write a final paper to be handed in by January 31, 2001.

You need to talk about these with me; I can help and need to know what each one is doing.

Possible subjects:

1. See a new film or play by a woman writer or director, o a science fiction subject; read the book if it is a film version of a book, and review the film as a representation of the book and its themes.

2. Explore a website on one of the authors and critique it. Does it give enough information?

What else would you include?

3. Subscribe to one of the lists on women in literature--You can find these on the web. Lurk on the list for a while, then send a query or a comment to it and bring in the responses. Evaluate the list for your purposes. Don't ask to have your paper written--people sometimes try this!

4. Read a good biography of one of the authors. Report on it to your classmates, and use it as the basis for your paper. Do not, however, write a biography or summarize the book: pick out a theme from it or a question that you want answered or one aspect of the author's life to explore.

5. Find a suggestion in the study sheets on the novels and short stories.

6. Especially if you are a scientist, investigate the scientific background of one of the books we have read, and report on it in class and in a paper.

7. Choose a subject you think of yourself; check with me for suggestions and approval.


Requirements for the course and percentages of grade:

Daily Quizzes: 15%

Journal: 15%

Participation: 10%

Final Exam: 30%

Project or paper (Due January 31 or by arrangement): 30%

Here's what grades mean:

A: Your work is clearly superior. It shows an interest in and grasp of the ideas and themes of literature. It has that extra stroke of imagination, thoroughness, and originality that takes it beyond what is merely required. Your choice of topic and your treatment of it are thought-provoking. It may have small errors, ones that are easily fixed.

B: Your work is above average and displays a competence and knowledge of the subject and of the principles of literature. It might have no mechanical errors. Your choice of topic and your treatment of it are adequate.

C: In spite of rumor, this is a passing grade, showing a basic understanding of the subject matter. You have not, however, gone beyond this to demonstrate more than average understanding of the subject. Some of your errors in grammar might have interfered with good writing and understanding

D: Your work has been consistently below the average expected in a 200-level course.

Here's how I figure grades: A= 3.6-4.; B= 2.6-3.5; C= 1.6-2.5; D= .8-1.5; F= 0.

Dr. Anne Mills King phone: 301-322-0594 Email  aking@pgcc.edu



English 250.  Women in Literature        




Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:


1.  How women’s voices represent literary and historical periods;


2.  How images or stereotypes have influenced literary forms;


3.  How minority and ethnic women writers have treated their subject matter;


4.  How women writers and works by women fit into the mainstream thought.