Leaving Home: The Female Novel of Development
A classic pattern in male novels of development begins with the young man leaving home to find fortune and love. But the decision to leave home also animates many novels about young women. The books in this course range from the early 19th to the very late 20th century; they come from both England and America; they each present the problem of growing into adulthood as a question of place. Homes may provide protection and safety; they may also severely limit growth. These books pose useful and timeless questions about friendship, solitude, marriage, single-ness, money, travel (forced or chosen), religion, sex, and reading.
Books will include Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth, Virginia Woolf’s The Voyage Out, Pearl Abrahams’ The Romance Reader, Marilynn Robinson’s Housekeeping, and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.
You’ll do a very short scene analysis or a discussion question for each class. One mid-term paper: one final paper.