Working With Feminist Criticism

        Write a single spaced essay in which you concisely explain the basic premises of Feminist criticism, and apply one or more Feminist interpretive strategies to explaining how Hemingway's "Soldier's Home" is constructed or what it means.  In Part Two, use the terms found in Tyson on pages 81-116, and in the essays by Byam, Fetterley, and Radner and Lanser.  (Note that Part One does not have to account for everything in the readings--it is enough if you present a coherent, synthesis of their basic points as they apply to literature.)  This assignment is due on Monday morning (emailed as attached Word files preferred!) following Thursday's discussion of Fetterley on Hawthorne's "The Birthmark." 

        To successfully complete the assignment, make sure your essay's two parts answer, in some fashion, the following questions:

Part One:  Summarize Tyson, Byam and Fetterly on the theory and practice of feminist interpretation.  Do not merely list the terms of art used by the theory.  Illustrate or define them with a phrase so that I can discern how well you understand them.  Use literary examples when you can--they will improve your memory of the theory and method.  Name the theorists who introduce important concepts and terms of art.  Establish a theoretical basis for what you are about to do in Part Two by explaining the methods you will employ there as a result of the theoretical position you have outlined.  I have encouraged you to consider adopting Fetterley's approach because she develops Reader-Response from a feminist perspective, however you might also decide you wanted to apply some of the other "flavors" of feminism that are appropriate to the data in "Soldier's Home." 

Part Two: What evidence in Hemingway's "Soldier's Home" makes it appropriate for feminist interpretation?  What feminist principles seem most effectively to explain that evidence?  What non-obvious insight does those principles help us to see in the text?

        You do not have to develop a paper that explains the entire story in feminist terms in order to finish this assignment.  You do have to establish that a feminist method can expose something non-obvious and important about the way the text is constructed.  As a matter of good critical practice, you should provide your paper with a proper title based on your application of feminist theory, and a Works Cited section, but once you have explained how feminist criticism works, showed how it might be applied in the case of this text, and indicated why that is important (the "so what?"), you are done.  You need not explore further the consequences of that application or develop all the available evidence; only the most relevant details need be mentioned.

Click here for the criteria I will use when evaluating the paper.