Contemporary Female Protagonists

Class Number: 
Section Number: 
Anne F. Walker PhD
Time / Location 
Monday 2:00pm  to  5:00pm  @  Barrows 80
Wednesday 2:00pm  to  5:00pm  @  Barrows 80
Section Description 

           This class will start by looking at the Bechdel test, and its implications. We will look at contemporary literature and films from several genres that feature female protagonists.  Genres of documentary, graphic novel, fiction, and poetry, are among those we will consider.  In all of these examples we will consider what challenges the female protagonist faces. Do they seem different from those of her male counterpart?  How does she face and meet these challenges, and are these ways of moving through difficulties different from the traditions built from male-dominated narratives?

             Most importantly, we’ll work on developing the critical reading and analytical writing skills that will help us to articulate what happens when we approach texts of all kinds. With our course readings as our common terrain, we’ll learn to read a variety of texts closely and carefully, focusing on strategies for critical reading and re-reading. We’ll discuss strategies that will help us to craft logically organized and well-written essays and to develop persuasive and increasingly complex analytical arguments in writing.

            Expect to delve deeply into the texts (reading and rereading), as well as revise your writing extensively (writing and rewriting). 

Book List 

Good Woman, by Lucille Clifton, ISBN-10: 0918526590

Woman World, by Aminder Dhaliwal, ISBN-13: 978-1770463356

Circe, by Madeline Miller, ISBN-10: 0316556343

The Writer's Diet: A Guide to Fit Prose (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing), 2nd Edition, by Helen Sword, ISBN-10: 022635198X


Moana, Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker (103 minutes)
The Bechdel Cast, hosted by Caitlin Durante and Jamie Loftus

RBG, Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen (97 minutes)