Essay examining gender roles in How I Learned to Drive

Write an essay examining gender roles in How I Learned to Drive. Look at the way gender roles are taught and reinforced and the way that certain characters transgress those roles. What can you make of the interaction between these stereotypes and their subversion in the play, whether by satire or the intentions of a given character? You should also pay close attention to the family dynamic and the way sex is presented as a major theme. Think too about how the female body is discussed and how L’il Bit says, near the end, she no longer lives in her body but rather “inside the ‘fire’ in [her] head.” Driving as a metaphor and the theme of control are other things you might consider. The end of the play in general should definitely inform your discussion.

[If you have another idea of what you want to write about, run it by me after class or via email. This might include writing an essay about Trifles instead…]

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Your essay should have an introduction that presents an original, contestable thesis statement. The essay should summarize, quote, paraphrase, and cite textual evidence to back up that thesis and it should end with a conclusion paragraph. Don’t forget: the text doesn’t interpret itself. You must analyze all quotations and paraphrases if you want them to effectively support your argument. You may certainly bring up ideas and passages that we discussed as a class, but your analysis should move significantly beyond them. Likewise, feel free to argue against some of what we said as a class as long as you can back up your case with evidence from the text (there are no “right” or “wrong” readings, just better or worse reasoned and argued readings).

Some of the literary terminology from the Elements of Drama chapter (p.679-700) as well as earlier terminology from the Plot, Point of View, Symbolism, Theme, and Style, Tone, and Irony sections (back in the short story unit) should be used to help further your analysis. The Sample Student essays might help if you’re not sure what is expected of you. Likewise, Chapter 31 has good advice on writing about literature. Use all the handouts and course materials up on Blackboard to help you as you compose the essay.

Quote and cite using MLA style

4-6 pages; double space; 12pt Times New Roman font; 1” margins

Final draft due 12/3 it says due on the 3rd but even the 4th is fine.

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