white heron ,” charlotte perkins gilman ’ W r i t i n g

white heron ,” charlotte perkins gilman ’ W r i t i n g

ENG 300 Tales of Toxic Masculinity

PAPER II. A short essay. Four or five pages. Done for intellectual joy, but with conceptual and grammatical precision, too. Written with the same flair you’ve brought to your daily questions and observations. No plagiarism.

Feel free to use ideas that have arisen in discussions in class.


It’s a short essay, so don’t bother summarizing works (assume that your reader knows them well). Get right to your subject; be specific; make your points clear; be as concise as possible.

You must use at least one work from the second half of the semester; you may use one from the first half. (Or use two from second half.)

Do the following:

1. Comparatively discuss a specific cause or a characteristic or a characterizing of a toxic masculinity issue in two of our tales. Do only one: either cause or characteristic or characterizing. Get at the implicated meaning thereof.

By “cause” I mean a possible motive for an act involving a toxic masculinity issue: for example, the reason for Sylvia’s being so attracted to the hunter, Professor Rath to Lola Lola, Stella to Stanley, and so on.

By “characteristic” I mean a particular manifestation of toxic masculinity issue: for example, egocentric indifference to the wellbeing of others such as we see in John Wright and Salter.

By “characterizing” I mean the way in which an issue of toxic masculinity is represented: for example, how both Brecht and Churchill (TG) depict a woman’s adopting masculine-patriarchal values.

The plays from the 2nd half of the semester that are to be used for this assignment are:

Susan Glaspell’s, “Trifles”

Sarah Orne Jewett’s, “A White Heron,”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Joseph Campbell’s “Atonement with the Father”

Caryl Churchill’s “A Number.”

Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Woman of Szetzuan.”

Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story.”

Tennessee Williams “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

David Henry Hwang’s “M. Butterfly.”

Maria Irene Fornés “Mud.”

Wole Soyinka “Death and the King’s Horseman.

August Wilson’s “Fences.”

Richard Wright, “The Man Who Killed a Shadow.”

Lorraine Hansberry, “A Raisin in the Sun.”


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