One of the key ways to interpret Michael Cunningham’s The Hours is to understand the different ways in which femininity is constructed in the novel. In The Hours, there are three distinct story lines, and the three protagonists from three different eras — Virginia Woolf (1920s, England), Laura Brown (1950s, Los Angeles), and Clarissa Vaughan (late 20th/early 21st century, New York) — critique the social construct of womanhood, and of how society conceptualizes the ideal woman. For your paper, choose any one of these examples to illustrate how any one of the protagonists negotiates her position in society. Your discussion should be pertinent to the culture, social structure, and ideologies of the time — eg., early/mid/late 20th century ideologies in America/Britain. Your paper 4-5 pages in length should have a strong textual basis, and should have 4-5 researched references constituting primary and secondary sources (scholarly/peer-reviewed material). While it is important that you show your familiarity with the text, please avoid long quotations. When you quote, please work with it in order to substantiate your point. We will have individual conferencing about this assignment between March 8-10. You will be making individual 5-minute presentations about the assignment between March 13-16. (Instructions under the heading “Research Presentation”) The peer-review session of your papers is on March 17. Your paper and your annotated bibliography is due on March 20. (Instructions about annotated bibliography under the heading “Annotated Bibliography”)
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