This unit utilizes an array of fiction and nonfiction texts to explore the prevalence and consequences of gender role stereotypes and expectations in literature and society and encourages students to imagine a world free from those stereotypes. The first section of the unit helps students to define terms and list gender role stereotypes they have observed in their worlds. The students read nonfiction articles to learn about the history, incidence, and consequences of those stereotypes. In the second section the class briefly studies the history of feminism in the United States. The third and fourth sections focus on literary analysis of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, while the students also select diverse independent reading books with similar thematic content. In response to self-selected independent reading novels the students will take on the role of a character to write creatively from the first-person viewpoint. Finally, there is a culminating creative writing task in which students write a series of vignettes in a style similar to that of Cisneros, exploring the breaking away from societal and parental expectations.
(Developed for English Language Arts, grade 8; recommended for English Literature, grades 9-12)