Themes in Literature: Literature Before #MeToo

English 1160
Literature Before #MeToo
Section 03
Heather Heckman-McKenna
Tate 101

The contemporary #MeToo movement can empower through shared stories, heightened empathy, and collectively speaking out against gender- and sex-based violence and oppression, but long before #MeToo, people told their stories of gender- and sex-based subjugation, assault, and violence. This course seeks to orient the tenets of #MeToo in literature before the movement. Questions we might ask of these texts include: How do different genres elicit responses in their readers? How can choices in tone, voice, and point of view affect readers in different ways? Can we, to some degree, map changes over time in the treatment of women in patriarchal cultures? In this course, we’ll read works of poetry, fiction, and memoir to investigate these and other questions. Texts we’ll consider include Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market,” Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Alice Sebold’s Lucky, and Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.