Tu/Th 11-12:30 204 Dwinelle Instructor: Laura Ferris

Course Description: What does it mean to come of age on the page or onscreen and what is the nature of this transformation? Taking Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre as the overarching theme of this course, we will read novels and watch cinema from the big and small screen in order to ask and answer our own questions about what these stories have to tell us about where we “end up” and how these stories are told. This is a class “on” Jane Eyre in which we won’t read Jane Eyre itself in its entirety: instead we will engage with narratives of young women from all over the world, whether from the Caribbean, Seoul, or the Bronx, whose authors were inspired closely and less closely by the themes and events of Jane Eyre. Themes to explore will include the intersections of race and gender in colonial societies, narratives of immigration, gender and mental health, trauma and recovery, and LGBTQ+ identity formation. Ample space will be given both to creating a unique community of readership that reflects our experiences and interests as well as to introducing students to the quirks and rigors of writing in the discipline of Comparative Literature.

This course satisfies the first of two semesters of Reading and Composition requirements and is a reading and writing intensive course. Objectives for writing in this course will include internalizing the conventions for textual analysis at the college level, gaining increasing independence in developing original ideas for argumentative essays, developing habits and resources for lifelong reading and writing, and identifying and applying effective communication and planning skills for success at Berkeley. This is a class where we will address issues of writer’s block head-on, and become experts at our own writing processes. Assignments may include two essay writing projects (including several rounds of prewriting and revision), presentations, writing process reflection projects, and response to peer writing. Expect to read up to 100 pages per week or up to three hours of viewing required texts per week.

Current List of Texts:

Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid

Re Jane, Patricia Park

Call Me Zebra, Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

Rebecca, dir. Alfred Hitchcock

Hiroshima mon amour, dir. Alain Resnais

The Handmaiden, dir. Park Chan-wook

A Fantastic Woman, dir. Sebastián Lelio

 Jane the Virgin, creator Jennie Snyder Urman (selections)

The Mindy Project, creator Mindy Kaling (selections)

Fingersmith, creator Sarah Waters (selections)


A course reader will be available at a local copy shop and digitally via bCourses.