Sexuality and gender categorization

Sexuality and gender categorization

Prompt # 3

  1. One constant in most of the works we have considered seems to be some fascination with sexuality and gender categorization. Using at least one example from each of the three periods into which we have divided the course (Medieval/ Early Modern/ Restoration- 18th century), argue either that these two categories are ALWAYS linked or that the literature of different periods reflects some distance between the categories. In other words, does a writer who addresses some element of sexuality always include in that consideration a reinforcement of gender stereotypes or can these two areas stand alone? Cite evidence from texts in support of your answer.
  2. What are the significant difference and similarities in the plays we have considered this semester (Everyman, king Lear, Twelfth Night, Volpone, The Country Wife, and Venice Preserv’d)? Your answer should include how you account for both. In other words, why are they similar and why are they different? (In other words, do not simply list the differences or similarities – explain them.) Your answer should touch on the traditional elements of drama: language, plot, character, and setting. Your discussion should include at least three of these plays.
  3. From Caedmon’s Hymn through Paradise lost, religion in general and Christianity have been significant elements in most of the literature we have considered. Have there been any major shift in the way religion is represented over time? How do you account for the mixture of religion and sexuality in some of these authors? Chaucer, Donne and Milton would seem to be the most obvious, though you are free to consider others.
  4. Over the course of the semester, the works we have been reading seem ti focus increasingly on political concerns. This is not to suggest, of course, the politics has no role in the earlier works. Citing one example from each of the three periods into which we have divided the course. (Medieval/ Early Modern/ Restoration- 18th century), illustrate the ways in the which politics can influence the composition of a literary work or how a literary work can have political impact.
  5. Satire has (seemingly) always been an element of cultural experience. At the end of the semester, we considered one of the great satires in English – Gulliver’s travels. Who (or what)are the chief targets or Swift’s work? How does the reader know that Swift is making fun of a particular group or practice? Who (or what) are the chief targets in Wycherley’s The country Wife? What are the similarities and the difference?

 

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