ERIC Number: ED348689
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
What Do We Teach and How Do We Teach It?
Considering that some feminist critics have recently been approaching composition theory from a preconceived feminist perspective, the issue of maintaining an analytical bias while conducting research is once more emerging. By imposing an analytical model on a body of data, scholars run the risk of ignoring conclusions or focusing on those which corroborate their positions. Students in a freshman composition course at Lawrence Technological University were asked to write responses to Ernest Hemingway's story, "Hills Like White Elephants," the same method and story used in an earlier study by the feminist composition scholar Elizabeth Flynn. Unlike Flynn's results, male students did not "dominate" the text any more than females. The readings by males and females, however, did differ to some extent, and students' responses demonstrate a wide range of reading styles. Some frustration and anger was shown as students tried to fill in the "gaps" presented by this story. Hemingway never explicitly tells the reader that the man and woman are discussing their need for an abortion, forcing the reader to work hard to draw this conclusion. Midterm essay responses show that student response, both male and female, draws strongly on the teacher's explication. Researchers should focus on how students read both with and without the teacher's help. After two decades of reader-response analysis, perhaps the introduction of narrative theory into pedagogy is an idea whose time has come. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aesthetic Reading; Composition Theory; Feminist Scholarship; Lawrence University WI
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (San Antonio, TX, April 18-20, 1991).