“Transformation Was Definitely Her Specialty": Teaching Representation with Roberta Fernandez's "Amanda."




Feu Lopez, Maria Montserrat

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Humanities Education and Research Association


This essay examines critical analysis of literature, collaborative dialogue, and reflective writing as pedagogical strategies successfully employed to teach the concept of representation. All were designed for students to draw connections among interdisciplinary sources: historical, literary and theoretical. Roberta Fernandez’s short story “Amanda” (2002), whose protagonist is believed to be a witch, was read in connection with Tillie Olsen’s poem “I Want You Women Up North to Know” (1934), and Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s novels Desert Blood (2005) and Calligraphy of the Witch (2012). The analysis of the literary texts helped students to understand the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women in mainstream culture, as well as to value the historical legacies of working-class women as leaders and role models for their communities.



representation of women, women in literature, teaching approaches, Fernández, Roberta (1940-), short stories, 'Amanda', Olsen, Tillie (1912-2007), 'I Want You Women Up North to Know', Gaspar de Alba, Alicia (1958-), Calligraphy of the Witch (2007), Desert Blood (2005), novels


Maria Montserrat Feu Lopez, “‘Transformation Was Definitely Her Specialty’: Teaching Representation with Roberta Fernandez's ‘Amanda.’” Interdisciplinary Humanities, vol. 31, no. 2, Summer 2014, pp. 47-61.