reading questions for
Carol Gilligan's In a Different
- What are Gilligan's claims about "objective"
theories of development?
- What problem does Gilligan identify with
Strunk & White's examples?
- What is Gilligan's critique of
- "Thus a problem in theory became cast as a
problem in women's development ..." Explain.
- What is Chodorow's explanation for the nearly
universal differences between men and women's social
- What is the "positive" account of early female
development that Chodorow offers to replace Freud's?
- What differences did Lever find in the ways
that boys & girls played together? What are her hypotheses
about the causes of these differences?
- Why, according to Lever, Piaget, and Kohlberg,
would girls' tendency to end a game before a quarrel broke out
lead to difficulties in developing a "moral sense"?
- Chart the ways in which male development is
the model for Erikson, and the corresponding ways that females are
- How are identity and intimacy linked for women
in Bettelheim's analyses of fairy tales?
- What is the TAT and how is it used as a
- What is "fear of success"?
- What is Sassen's explanation of "fear of
success"? Under what conditions does she predict it will occur for
- What is the "paradox" that Gilligan identifies
about women's "good" attributes and their moral
- Why does Gilligan want to construct a model of
moral judgment based on "the activity of care"?
- Why, according to Gilligan, would a man be
concerned about people interfering with others' right while a
woman would be concerned about harm caused by
- Why would a morality of rights be frightening
- Why would a morality of responsibility appear
to be inconclusive and diffuse to men?
- Why does Freud's theory lead him to declare
women's psychology a "dark continent"?
- Why does Jake locate truth in math? Why does
he think that anyone who follows his logic will agree with
- Why does Amy "misconstrue" the moral dilemma
in the Heinz story?
- What different ways of mediating the Heinz
conflict do Amy and Jake see?
- Amy is "answering a different question from
the one the interviewer thought had been posed." Why does Amy
persist in her way of answering?
- "What does Jake see that Amy does not?" and
"What does Amy see that Jake does not?"
- Make an argument that both Jake and Amy are
equally sophisticated in their understanding of the Heinz
- "... Jeffrey thinks about what goes first,
Karen focuses on who is left out." Why this
- Why does Gilligan's claim that "in neither
comparison does one child's judgment appear as a precursor of the
other's position" important to her rejection that the girl is
"less developed" than the boy?
- What are the differences in defining the self
through separation and through connection? Why is the latter more
"female" and more likely to seem "less developed?"
- How does constructing the conflict between
responsibility to self and to others as "an act of care" differ
from constructing it as "the restraint of aggression." Give
examples from Jake and Amy.
- "She, assuming connection, [explores
separation], while he, assuming separation [explores
connection]." Why does this difference occur and what effect
does it have on Amy & Jake's understanding of responsibility
to self and others?
- How can Freud's complaint about "narcissism"
in young women be turned into a "new responsiveness to the
- What differences in themes of violence did men
& women perceive in the TAT studies Gilligan reports? What is
Gilligan's explanation for these differences?
- How does Freud build his model of Ego on
"separation"? How does this ignore women's
- How is Claire caught between what she perceive
as "right" and as "right for me"?
- How does Claire reconcile "responsiveness to
others" and "responsiveness to herself"?
- Why did taking Kohlberg's course on moral
development make her exclaim "My God, what if I have regressed?"
when presented the opportunity to answer the dilemmas
- How is Claire's despair related to her
experience of disconnection?
- Explain the "contextual" nature of Claire's
struggle while working at an abortion clinic. Why was she
- In what way is Claire's drama of "Mr. Right"
and "Mr. Wrong" a playing out of her struggle to be honest with
herself and her feelings of what others expected?
- Why is "the act of assertion an act not of
aggression but rather of communication"? State this in Claire's
- "... each image marks as dangerous the place
which the other defines as safe." What are the different
assumptions and modes of response inherent in these different
- The "unwillingness to make moral judgments" in
adolescent men takes the form of calling into question morality
itself. What form does it take in adolescent women?
- How do women "excuse themselves from the
responsibility that decision entails"?
- The moral judgments of women differ from
[those] of men in the extent to which they are tied to...
- Why is birth control and abortion an important
area to study women's moral choices?
- What is the "conflict between compassion and
autonomy, between virtue and power"?
- Describe the methodology of the "abortion
- Do you think that the "abortion decision"
study was ethical?
- According to Kohlberg, what is "conventional"
morality and what are the differences between pre & post
conventional moral reasoning?
- How does constructing the abortion decision as
a problem of care make women's judgment appear in Kohlberg's
- Outline the "sequence in the development of
the ethic of care" that Gilligan proposes on page 74.
- "for her, the question of rightness would
emerge only if her own needs were in conflict..." What level in
the ethic of care does this represent?
- How does pregnancy highlight the issue of
connection to others?
- How does the "conception of a self that
includes the possibility for doing 'the right thing' " signal an
enhancement of self-worth?
- "The conventional feminine voice" defines the
self on the basis of what?
- What is a strength and a limitation of this
conventional feminine position?
- How does Cathy describe the "impossible task
of choosing the victim"?
- What does the appearance of the word "selfish"
- How is honesty incorporated into the
conventional feminine voice?
- How is "paying attention to one's own need"
honest? Why does Gilligan say it is also "fair"?
- In what way does the transition beyond the
conventional women's voice hinge on self-concept?
- In what way does Ruth construe the "conflict
between femininity and adulthood as a moral problem"?
- What are the differences between Ned's
statement that "if you want other people not to interfere ... you
have to play the game" and Diane's statement that a moral issue
involves asking "are you taking care of all the things that are
- What does Gilligan mean by " development for
both sexes entails ... the discovery of the complementarity of
these disparate views?
- How does the deference of the conventional
feminine perspective continue at the postconventional
- What is Erikson's criticism of Gandhi's
treatment of his family, and how does it reinforce Gilligan's
- What dramatic changes occurred in women's
thinking at the "time that the baby would have been born, had the
- In what way does Sarah's decision to "take
responsibility for ending this life" involve taking responsibility
for herself as well?
- Look up the word "nihilism." How does "moral
nihilism" describe the conclusion of women "who seek, in having an
abortion, to cut off their feelings and not care"?
- How is this nihilism a "retreat ... to ...
survival"? Does this mean that people can regress in Gilligan's
- Why did Mary Wollstonecraft have to argue that
liberty for women was "the mother of virtue"? What was the
structure of her argument?
- What did Elizibeth Stanton mean by
"Self-development is a higher duty than
- In what ways do "The Mill on the Floss" and
"The Waterfall" resemble and differ from each other? Do the
decisions of the heroines in each novel fit into one of Gilligan's
- Why does the accusation of selfishness have
"enormous power" for women?
- Why does Nan think that "the word selfish is
- In what way did Jenny, five years after her
family crisis, see that "selfishness" and "morality" were not
opposed to each other?
- Why do women rights "season mercy with justice
by enabling women to consider it moral to care ... for