Stereotypes of Men and Women

Reader-response criticism, Aesthetics, Feminist literary criticism

Stereotypes of men and women, and inequality between the sexes in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
-A didactic essay attempting to show that a gender focused reading of Pride and Prejudice has much to offer both male and female students

This essay will discuss why one would use a literary text such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) in a classroom. There is a certain focus on what Pride and Prejudice might have to offer both male and female students, since research has shown that boys tend to resist reading romantic novels and stories about girls. This essay attempts to show that a gender focused reading of Pride and Prejudice might make it interesting to male students as well, since the way that the unequal relationship between men and women is portrayed concerns them as well as the female students. Regarding the reasons for using literature in the classroom, I will investigate what it is that literary texts can offer to its readers. This essay will argue that reading literature is an aesthetic experience, which is what separates literary texts from other non-literary texts. Aesthetic experiences have to do with the way student’s feel about and experience certain texts, and also with the artistic values of a text. To have an aesthetic experience is very important since the English classroom is a place where the students´ feelings and experiences normally are not given enough neither time nor space. This essay attempts to show that by looking at stereotypical characters in Pride and Prejudice, as well as looking at what qualities in men and women were considered desirable, a very interesting discussion might arise in the classroom, concerning gender roles, and inequality between men and women. A discussion of this sort gives the students an opportunity to question the gender roles we have in today’s society, as well as the relationship between men and women. Keywords: Literature, reading, aesthetic experience, gender, stereotypes. Table of...
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