“Write what you know” is advice we have all heard, so can men write realistically about women? What sorts of stories about women do men choose to tell? Do male authors put their female characters in “towers,” in situations where they have to be rescued by men? Is the portrayal more effective in the novel or in drama? We shall examine these questions and more when we read and discuss two novels and two dramas written by men featuring female protagonists.
“A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen — Written in 1879, this play is still regularly performed and the part of the heroine, Nora, has become one of the most coveted female roles in drama. What is it about this character that still speaks to audiences today?
“Washington Square” by Henry James — James takes the reader on an emotional journey with his protagonist, Catherine Sloper. He has the task of revealing extraordinary potential in a seemingly ordinary young woman. Does he succeed?
“A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennesse Williams — This play shocked audiences in 1947 with the portrayal of a tortured female protagonist struggling for compassion and dignity in an indifferent society. But, is she a victim or a victimizer?
“On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan — This tightly focused human drama seems to be a novel of manners but is really a horror story located in the characters’ sexual ignorance on their wedding night. Does McEwan place the blame equally upon the bride and on the groom or does the female character bear more of the blame?
Course # F4M3 — 4 weeks
Lifelong Learning Complex, Jupiter Campus
Mondays — Oct. 28; Nov. 4, 18, 25; NO CLASS NOV. 11