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READINGS: Medea by Euripides, “Marriage Is a Private Affair” by C. Achebe (CH), “Story of an Hour” by K. Chopin, p. 127; A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, p. 881 – The first and last are fairly long plays

READINGS: Medea by Euripides, “Marriage Is a Private Affair” by C. Achebe (CH), “Story of an Hour” by K. Chopin, p. 127; A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen, p. 881 – The first and last are fairly long plays; the other 2 are fairly brief short stories, so pace your time wisely. As you read, consider the discussions around gender taking place in the stories, particularly Medea and A Doll’s House. For all of the stories, think about the comments on traditions, standard expectations, and so forth that are brought up about some of the primary characters. Consider: What are they resisting, challenging, or not adhering to in the ways that others around them expect them to? What are they doing “differently”? Is there a “why”, a reason that the characters seem to be behaving differently than expected of them? If so, what is that reason or intention?


Medea by Euripides – (a play)

  • Comment on Medea’s response to her ex-husband’s betrayal. Considering Medea’s reactions to Jason, her use of her children, and her use & attack of others, etc. (You might think in terms of the role of motherhood and society’s – broadly speaking – expectations of those roles.) Be sure to comment on what prompted Medea’s actions.
  • Describe and comment on Medea’s character. How would you describe her, and on what characteristics, behaviors, and comments are you basing your comments? Consider her escape plan, the shift in her behavior from the beginning to the end of the play, and the like.

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen – (a play)

  • What realization does Nora have about herself and her marriage? Consider too the shift in the way she thinks about her husband, their relationship, and herself.
  • What is significant about the ending scene and Nora’s final action? What does she do, and how might audiences of the 1800s versus today react to her behavior?

“Story of an Hour”  by Kate Chopin– (a short story)

  • From what Chopin includes in her story, what is a potential conflict between the husband-wife of the story?
  • The ending references that Mrs. _____ dies of “the kind of joy that kills.” Reflecting carefully on the story, what do you think this comment means? (Pay attention to Mrs. _____’s moments of reflection, what she focuses on and her responses to that.)

“Marriage Is a Private Affair”  by Chinua Achebe – (a short story)

  • Describe the relationship between Nnameka and his father. What, if any, concerns or issues exist between them? What is the reason for the disruption of their relationship?
  • How does the story that Achebe “tells” comment on generational differences and cultural shifts? Have you experienced such generational or cultural differences within your own family and/or community?

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