LITR – Week 3 – Expanding & Evolving Gender Roles

Assigned Readings:

“Picture Bride” by Cathy Song in American Literature Since the Civil War
“Woman Hollering Creek” by Sandra Cisneros in American Literature Since the Civil War
“Big Two-Hearted River: Part I and Part II” by Ernest Hemingway in American Literature Since the Civil War
“Two Postures beside a Fire” by James Wright in American Literature Since the Civil War
“El Patron” by Nash Candelaria in American Literature Since the Civil War

“The Revolt of Mother” by Mary Wilkins Freeman, available in the public domain.


Submission Instructions: As with every “main” discussion post, please make comments substantive (in at least 300 words). Use quotations to support your points, but make sure to balance them with your own original ideas. Finally, please engage two of your classmates in their forum posts to help further our conversation. Respond to classmates’ posts in at least 100-150 words each.

Part I: Select a fact about one of the authors this week that you found most interesting and tell us why.

Part II: If you had to choose only one aspect of who you are that is predominant in your identity, what would it be? Why? With that in mind, what character could you best relate to this week?

Part III: Select one of the works this week. Discuss how one of the characters defines him or herself. Take a look at another character in the same work. Does that character perceive that person the same way? How do their definitions differ? For instance, you may discuss how Mother defines herself and how her husband sees her. Be sure to support your response with cited evidence from the text.



Student Response #1 – Brandon


Part I:  This week I chose Sandra Cisneros to call interesting. Born of Latin decent, Sandra has spent more than 45 years writing and teaching creative writing. She has published more than 35 works. The fascinating thing about her books is that they have been translated into over a dozen languages, including Spanish, Galician, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Norwegian, Japanese, Chinese, Turkish, and, most recently, into Greek, Iranian, Thai, and Serbo-Croatian (Cisneros). She has used her writings to help found the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation; both in which give back to the writing community.


Part II:  If I had to choose only one aspect that defines my identity it would have to be my personal values and moral standards. My values and moral compass help me steer to the hard right over the easy wrong. There will always be a struggle between good and bad. I would like to think I have been pretty successful in setting the example for my children when it comes to my values and standards.


When reading El Patron by Candelaria, I found Tito’s struggle with enlisting or registering for the military a moral dilemma and internal struggle. He must choose the hard right over the easy wrong and try to appease his father. The question is what is the hard right? This is based off personal beliefs. It took Lola to remind Papa of his past actions that could have been seen as the exact same type of struggle.


Part III:  In Two Postured beside a Fire, a father and son sit by a stove. The son returns home to Ohio. He believes his father is proud. The poem states, “He is proud of me, believing I have done strong things among men and become a man”. I feel the son is shadowed by the thought his father will not be proud of what, or what not the son has accomplished. Is this based off of the fact his father “broke stones, wrestled and mastered great machines”? The son twitches nervously at what his father may think. I believe this poem is more about assumptions and the fear of failure.



Student Response #2 – Dana


Part I:  An interesting fact I came across this week was about Ernest Hemingway. I had absolutely no idea that he fought in World War I and earned the Silver Medal of Military Valor (Hemingway Biography)! Being a Soldier myself, this makes him that much more relatable. I was incredibly surprised to learn this and I think it’s really neat. One thing I found impressive is that war didn’t leave him a broken man. That is something that was rare to find in Soldiers who fought in that war. To make things better, he was a very adventurous person. Which leads me into part II.


Part II:  I believe that I have a couple labels that are predominant in my identity. But if I had to choose one it would be that I am adventurous, like Hemingway. I absolutely love to take off on trips at the drop of a dime, especially when I lived in Europe. Any spare moment we had, my husband and I would load up our dogs and just take off. We have ended up at amusement parks and hiking on random trails in the Black Forrest in knee deep snow. I’ve even hopped on a plane in Stuttgart, Germany and took off to Naples, Italy for a weekend. How’s that for adventure? The character, in this week’s readings, that I could most relate to would definitely be Nick, in Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River” parts I and II.


Part III:  Keeping with the same story from part II, “Big Two-Hearted River,” I am looking at the character Nick. Although he doesn’t ever say it, he too is clearly an adventurous person. You can tell he is ready for that adventure by the mention of the large, heavy, pack that he carried and how when he sat on the burnt stump looking out over the country side “He did not need to get his map out. He knew where he was from the position of the river” (Hemingway).  He also seemed to be very well prepared. You see this when he pitches his camp for the night. You also understand why his pack was so heavy. He had pretty much anything a person would need for their adventure, right down to an onion and a bag of nails. Another character in the story is Nick’s friend, Hopkins. I think it’s easy to see that Hopkins is the adventurous type as well. After all, he was hanging out and traveling with Nick. Again, although it’s not directly mentioned, I think it’s safe to say that Hopkins would also describe Nick as adventurous and vice versa.

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