"Do all feminists kill themselves or go crazy - or does that only happen in the books feminists write?"
I am reminded of this question put to meby a student in the first Women and Literature course I taught, whenever I look over a syllabus which begins with, say, The Awakening or The House of Mirth and ends with such writers as Plath or Sexton. Of course, we teach more than plot summary and biography. Set in its context, Edna Pontellier's "awakening" should be historically, sociologically, and psychologically illuminating for the contemporary student. But we must also accept the fact that our students do look to the books and the authors they read for models of behavior. And many of the female characters in the texts commonly used in women's studies courses just do not provide positive models.