Short writing assignment -- week 4
due by email at 5pm on Friday, Sept. 25

As we’ve been reading this week, Radway has a complicated thesis about the social effects of romance novels on these readers. Although the readers themselves argue that their reading habits allow them to relax and escape from their daily lives (maternal responsibilities, less-than-perfect marriages), Radway suggests that these novels actually tie the readers more tightly into these very relationships. Further, the fictional characterizations of even the most loving of men as silent allow women to read their reticent husbands’ as quietly smoldering lovers. To sum up the argument in a very general way, Radway describes that what the women think they’re getting and the actual social effects of reading these books are really quite different.

Your assignment this week is to describe a parallel dynamic you have witnessed or been part of. What is a situation or object that the people involved think has a freeing effect but you, as a critical observer, you can see the opposite results? The standard page length applies.