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Literature in English, North America

Feminism

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To Be Everything: Sylvia Plath And The Problem That Has No Name, Alanna P. Mcauliffe May 2018

To Be Everything: Sylvia Plath And The Problem That Has No Name, Alanna P. Mcauliffe

Student Theses

This thesis explores, in depth, how the poetry of Sylvia Plath operates as an expression of female discontent in the decade directly preceding the sexual revolution. This analysis incorporates both sociohistorical context and theory introduced in Betty Friedan’s 1963 work The Feminine Mystique. In particular, Plath’s work is put in conversation with Friedan’s notion of the “problem that has no name,” an all-consuming sense of malaise and dissatisfaction that plagued American women in the postwar era. This notion is furthered by close-readings of poems written throughout various stages of Plath’s career (namely “Spinster,” “Two Sisters of ...


Naturalism And The New Woman: Fated Motherhood In Kate Chopin's The Awakening And Edith Wharton's The House Of Mirth, Lindsay J. Patorno May 2018

Naturalism And The New Woman: Fated Motherhood In Kate Chopin's The Awakening And Edith Wharton's The House Of Mirth, Lindsay J. Patorno

Honors Theses

Proto-feminist novels have garnered great critical attention in recent decades, largely owing to the reclamation efforts of feminist scholars from the 1960s onwards. These feminist scholars have remarked the fin-de-siècle emergence of a recurring narrative archetype: the unabashed New Woman, whose exploits in what were traditionally male-dominated spheres distinguished her from the domesticated matrons and sentimental bachelorettes of past literary paradigms. While the New Woman is now a commonplace among feminist critics, the following thesis uniquely interprets this feministic archetype in conjunction with the concurrent movement of American literary naturalism—a genre that proffers a deterministic worldview and is often ...


Anthropocene Feminism By Richard Grusin, Stephanie Eccles Feb 2018

Anthropocene Feminism By Richard Grusin, Stephanie Eccles

The Goose

Review of Richard Grusin's Anthropocene Feminism.


The Poetry Of Louise Glück: The Search For A Feminine Self Through The Lens Of Kristevan Psychoanalytic Feminist Literary Theory, Allison Cooke Feb 2018

The Poetry Of Louise Glück: The Search For A Feminine Self Through The Lens Of Kristevan Psychoanalytic Feminist Literary Theory, Allison Cooke

Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research

This essay looks at the poetry of Louise Glück, specifically her two poems “Fugue” and “Persephone the Wanderer” from her 2006 collection Averno, for how the figures of the young woman/daughter and the mother struggle with and for their self-identity in relation to each other and to themselves. Drawing from the philosophy and literary theory of Jacques Derrida, Julia Kristeva, and Margaret Homans to develop the framing concepts of chora, potential capability, paralanguage, and the abject, this essay's argument suggests that these two feminine figures demonstrate difficult and traumatic transformations into what it means to be a woman ...


Esther Reed's Political Sentiments And Rhetoric During The Revolutionary War, Kennedy Harkins Jan 2018

Esther Reed's Political Sentiments And Rhetoric During The Revolutionary War, Kennedy Harkins

Honors Undergraduate Theses

In 1780, during the final leg of the American Revolutionary War, Esther Reed penned the broadside “Sentiments of an American Woman.” It circulated in Philadelphia, persuading citizens to turn over their last dollars to the cause. Reed’s broadside called to action the women of Philadelphia; they knocked on doors, campaigned with words, and stepped firmly into the “man’s world” of politics and revolution. Reed’s words were so effective that women in cities across the colonies took to raising money as well. Using New Historicist and feminist reading strategies, this study compares and contrasts Reed’s rhetoric to ...


Lesbian Love Sonnets: Adrienne Rich And Carol Ann Duffy, Robin Seiler-Garman May 2017

Lesbian Love Sonnets: Adrienne Rich And Carol Ann Duffy, Robin Seiler-Garman

Senior Theses

Our conceptualization of sexuality is rooted in gender. Modern, western society defines sexuality as which genders one is and is not attracted to—often appearing as a binary between homosexuality and heterosexuality. Recently, however, queer theorists have begun to push against the idea of binary sexuality altogether.

The interplay between gender and sexuality additionally manifests in the history of literature. Because the two are so intimately intertwined, writing about sexuality necessitates writing about gender. Twenty-One Love Poems by Adrienne Rich and Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy are two poetry collections where, as lesbian poets, gender and sexuality play an important ...


Not So Revisionary: The Regressive Treatment Of Gender In Alan Moore's Watchmen, Anna C. Marshall May 2017

Not So Revisionary: The Regressive Treatment Of Gender In Alan Moore's Watchmen, Anna C. Marshall

The Downtown Review

While Alan Moore’s comic book Watchmen is often hailed as a revisionary text for introducing flawed superheroes and political anxiety to the genre, it is also remarkably regressive in its treatment of gender. Some critics do argue that women are given a newfound voice in Watchmen, but this interpretation neglects to examine character Laurie Jupiter adequately, or the ways in which other female characters' appearance and dialogue are limited and/or based on their sexuality and relationships with male characters. Watchmen's main female characters, mother and daughter Sally and Laurie Jupiter, lack autonomy and their identities are completely ...


“Without Stopping To Write A Long Apology”: Spectacle, Anecdote, And Curated Identity In Running A Thousand Miles For Freedom, Anjelica La Furno May 2017

“Without Stopping To Write A Long Apology”: Spectacle, Anecdote, And Curated Identity In Running A Thousand Miles For Freedom, Anjelica La Furno

School of Arts & Sciences Theses

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom unapologetically challenges traditional nineteenth-century notions of race and gender by way of its treatment of spectacle, anecdotal use, and assertion of authorial choices that contradict the expectations of a white abolitionist audience. Its most challenging feature is what I will call Ellen’s “curated identity.”


Ethics Of Care On The Narrative Margins Of Willa Cather’S The Professor’S House And Death Comes For The Archbishop, Jeannette E. Schollaert May 2017

Ethics Of Care On The Narrative Margins Of Willa Cather’S The Professor’S House And Death Comes For The Archbishop, Jeannette E. Schollaert

Dissertations, Theses, and Student Research: Department of English

Willa Cather’s Southwestern novels feature cultured male protagonists as the driving sources of action. The male characters explore the natural world and advance the plot, but Cather positions female figures, particularly spinster figures, on the sidelines of the protagonists’ plots to offer support and connection with the natural world. Using an ethic of care framework and ecofeminist Val Plumwood’s master model, this thesis examines the ways in which Cather marginalizes female figures even as they serve crucial roles in the male protagonists’ development. While the male protagonists link spinster figures and sexualized feminine bodies with the natural world ...


Flesh In Line With The Mind : Gender In Caitlin Kiernan’S The Drowning Girl., Sarah Buckley May 2017

Flesh In Line With The Mind : Gender In Caitlin Kiernan’S The Drowning Girl., Sarah Buckley

College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses

This paper analyzes how Caitlyn R. Kiernan in her novel The Drowning Girl characterizes gender identity, particularly in regards to women, both transgender and cisgender. The book's characterization of gender roles for cisgender men, cisgender women, and transgender women, while seeming on the surface to subvert sexist stereotypes, reproduces the pitfalls of feminist literary criticism popularized in the 1970s and 1980s. Notably, such themes include viewing women's madness as a method of transcending masculine rationality, a dichotomized essentialism of masculinity and femininity, and universalizing women's experience without regards to race, class, and nationality. Transgender autobiographical and literary ...


Ironic Deference : An Inquiry Into The Nineteenth-Century Feminist Rhetoric Of Kesiah Shelton., Melissa Rothman May 2017

Ironic Deference : An Inquiry Into The Nineteenth-Century Feminist Rhetoric Of Kesiah Shelton., Melissa Rothman

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

This project examines the works of Kesiah Shelton, a writer for popular magazines in the late nineteenth century who used irony in interesting ways to critique the social norms of the period. Although, scholars have noted that female authorship was a an expanding field during this period, there were very specific gendered expectations limiting what female authors wrote about; women were primarily limited to writing about domestic matters and were discouraged from taking up other topics associated with the male public sphere such as politics. Many scholars have noted how the cult of domesticity valorized women as superior moral beings ...


When Worlds Collide: Feminism, Conservatism And Twentieth Century Authors, Madison Cooney Jan 2017

When Worlds Collide: Feminism, Conservatism And Twentieth Century Authors, Madison Cooney

Honors Theses

Two streams of literary narratives appearing during the Great Depression grew from personal and historical experiences of their women authors with overlapping but very different perspectives on American cultural history. These were: 1) The accounts of rural frontier Midwestern regional experiences of Laura Ingalls Wilder, as edited and shaped in part by her daughter and writing partner Rose Wilder Lane, in retrospect during the New Deal era; and 2) the 1920s urban African-American experience of Zora Neale Hurston in the context of an emerging national black artistic and intellectual scene. Through a shared feminism emphasizing freedom for women, these authors ...


The Puppeteer: An Analysis Of The Implications Of Gendered Spheres Through Sadie Burke In All The King’S Men, Sierra D. Riddle Nov 2016

The Puppeteer: An Analysis Of The Implications Of Gendered Spheres Through Sadie Burke In All The King’S Men, Sierra D. Riddle

Papers & Publications: Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Research

In a novel written about All the King's Men, this critical analysis serves as a closer look at the [wo]man behind the curtain. "The Puppeteer" scrutinizes Robert Penn Warren's use of gender in relation to politics, power, and puppet strings through his female character Sadie Burke. All the King's Men is praised for being the insightful chronicle of Willie Stark's journey from rags to riches, who is rumored to serve as the fictional representation of Louisiana Governor Huey Long. It is also celebrated for the tantalizing coming-of-age narrative of Warren's narrator Jack Burden, in ...


Genres Of Feminist Lives: Autobiography, Archives, And Community, 1970-1983, Meredith A. Benjamin Sep 2016

Genres Of Feminist Lives: Autobiography, Archives, And Community, 1970-1983, Meredith A. Benjamin

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The desire to record lives and the conviction that such recordings would serve an important purpose for other women were the motivations behind much of the autobiographical writing in U.S. feminist writing of the 1970s and 80s. In Genres of Feminist Lives: Autobiography, Archives, and Community, 1970-1983, I argue that feminist writers in this period used autobiographical writing to create a sense of community among their readers: a new feminist public. Realizing the inadequacy of a sense of identification, these writers encouraged their audiences, in the words of Audre Lorde, to transform silence into language and action. While scholars ...


The Weight Of “Glory”: Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, And Women’S Issues In Middlemarch, Megan Armknecht Apr 2016

The Weight Of “Glory”: Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, And Women’S Issues In Middlemarch, Megan Armknecht

Criterion: A Journal of Literary Criticism

No abstract provided.


Lost Women, Recently Found, Maya Moverman Jan 2016

Lost Women, Recently Found, Maya Moverman

Senior Projects Spring 2016

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Languages and Literature of Bard College


Discreet Feminism: Neil Gaiman’S Subversion Of The Patriarchal Society In American Gods, Christopher P. Thompson May 2015

Discreet Feminism: Neil Gaiman’S Subversion Of The Patriarchal Society In American Gods, Christopher P. Thompson

University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations

Neil Gaiman’s use of a hyper-masculine American culture in American Gods sheds light upon the multiple issues surrounding a misogynistic society in which women are treated as sexual objects and punished for their independence as sexual beings. Gaiman’s efforts at highlighting these issues are discreet and hidden under layers of patriarchal expectations, but through the use of his protagonist, Shadow, Gaiman is able to provide an alternative to the society he represents. While he successfully illustrates this more “ideal” society, his endeavors fall short and are almost imperceptible throughout his novel. Gaiman’s work in American Gods, while ...


Hamlet #Princeofdenmark: Exploring Gender And Technology Through A Contemporary Feminist Re-Interpretation Of Hamlet, Allegra B. Breedlove Jan 2015

Hamlet #Princeofdenmark: Exploring Gender And Technology Through A Contemporary Feminist Re-Interpretation Of Hamlet, Allegra B. Breedlove

Scripps Senior Theses

Exploring the process of designing, producing, directing and starring in a multimedia feminist re-interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet set in a contemporary social media landscape.


Feminism And The Force Of Institutions In Twenty-First Century Dystopian Novels, Stephanie Roman Jan 2015

Feminism And The Force Of Institutions In Twenty-First Century Dystopian Novels, Stephanie Roman

The Oswald Review: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Criticism in the Discipline of English

No abstract provided.


Agent Red: Fashioning Agency In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Christopher M. Yalen Jul 2014

Agent Red: Fashioning Agency In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Christopher M. Yalen

Oglethorpe Journal of Undergraduate Research

In Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, we are introduced to a dystopian patriarchal society named Gilead, where women are relegated to the roles of wife, servant, and surrogate. Although the men of Gilead have built this society with men at the top, the women of the novel show a surprising amount of agency within their own spheres of influence. So the question remains: who is really in control of Gilead? While men are certainly remain the figureheads of power in The Handmaid's Tale, we find that the women of the novel have copious influence within their own ...


Tammy Rae Carland's Queer Riot Grrrl Zine "I (Heart) Amy Carter": A World Of Public Intimacy, Annah-Marie Rostowsky Mar 2014

Tammy Rae Carland's Queer Riot Grrrl Zine "I (Heart) Amy Carter": A World Of Public Intimacy, Annah-Marie Rostowsky

Theses and Dissertations

This thesis analyzes Tammy Rae Carland's queer Riot Grrrl zine I (heart) Amy Carter as a counterpublic sphere engendered by acts of public intimacy that make visible the intersectional complexities of gender, sexuality, class, and race that insidious traumas continually work to conceal. It looks to Ann Cvetkovich's inquiries into the positive aspects of public cultures in the book An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures (2006) as well as Mimi Thi Nguyen's investigation of the Riot Grrrl race crisis in the article "Riot Grrrl, Race, and Revival" (2012) as frameworks to critique Carland ...


“Of The Woman First Of All”: Walt Whitman And Women's Literary History, Vivian Delchamps Jan 2014

“Of The Woman First Of All”: Walt Whitman And Women's Literary History, Vivian Delchamps

Scripps Senior Theses

This thesis contemplates Walt Whitman's role in the lives of 19th and 20th century women writers and his significance to early American feminism. I consider the ways women inspired him to develop pro-feminist ideas about maternity, womanhood, and female liberation.


Popular Depression: How Literature Is Affecting The Female Image, Samantha Bloodworth Dec 2013

Popular Depression: How Literature Is Affecting The Female Image, Samantha Bloodworth

Samantha Murillo

This paper contemplates traditional representations of females in literature throughout history for the purposes of examining the effects produced upon women by linking traditional representations to increased depression rates among teenage girls and women. Specifically, I will be asserting that the consistent and frequent portrayal of weak women is causing females to be more inclined to identify themselves as depressed. This paper will be focusing on the works of Shakespeare, Charlotte Bronte, and Stephanie Myers and discussing their respective female characters by examining the language and cultural practices that create Western concepts of femininity to demonstrate how these characters intensify ...


Creating Female Space: The Feminine Sublime In The Awakening And The House Of Mirth, Emily F. Faison Dec 2013

Creating Female Space: The Feminine Sublime In The Awakening And The House Of Mirth, Emily F. Faison

Selected Honors Theses

This thesis examines the Edna Pontellier and Lily Bart, the respective protagonists of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, integrating the theoretical concept of the sublime, particularly engaging Barbara Freemans’s idea of a feminine sublime, as discussed in her book, The Feminine Sublime: Gender and Excess in Women’s Fiction. In three chapters, the thesis provides an overview and brief history of the theory of the sublime, contextualizing Freeman’s argument, and measures the success of both Edna’s and Lily’s attempts to engage the sublime as they each struggle to ...


Performative Gender And Pop Fiction Females: "Emancipating" Byronic Heroines Through A Feminist Education, Joy Smith Dec 2013

Performative Gender And Pop Fiction Females: "Emancipating" Byronic Heroines Through A Feminist Education, Joy Smith

Masters Theses

"I can be a regular bitch. Just try me." With this phrase emblazoned across her t-shirt, Lisbeth Salander, pierced, tattooed, and bedecked in leather, waltzes from the pages of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. This woman who subverts authority, maliciously tattoos and sodomizes a man, and intentionally distances herself from close relationships of any kind has somehow managed to capture both the attention and admiration of the American audience. This disheartening phenomenon stems from a renewed interest in the Byronic heroine, a female possessing those traits traditionally assigned to Byronic heroes and men, and the rise ...


Talking Nonsense: Spiritual Mediums And Female Subjectivity In Victorian And Edwardian Canada, Claudie Massicotte Sep 2013

Talking Nonsense: Spiritual Mediums And Female Subjectivity In Victorian And Edwardian Canada, Claudie Massicotte

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This study traces the development of mediumship in Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Especially popular among women, this practice offered them an important space of expression. Concealing their own identities under spiritual possession, mediums ubiquitously invoked well-known historical figures in séances to transmit their opinions on current issues. As such, they were able to promote new ideas to interested audiences without claiming responsibility for their potentially controversial words.

While many studies have been conducted in the United States, Britain, and France regarding the significant role of mediumship in the emergence of women on the political scene ...


Gender Performance And The Reclamation Of Masculinity In Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, John William Salyers Jr. Jan 2013

Gender Performance And The Reclamation Of Masculinity In Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, John William Salyers Jr.

MA in English Theses

Salyers analyzes Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as both a product of and a commentary upon the American 1980s. The text focuses on analysis of key characters and their performance of socially assigned or accepted gender roles. Chief among these are James Gordon, seen as a nostalgic clinging to an antiquated masculinity, and Ellen Yindel, a woman who feels pressured by society to abandon her own gender identity in favor of a more socially acceptable one. The text posits that, against these two, Miller's work seeks to recognize a more modern, empowered, feminism in the character ...


Anticipative Feminism In F. Scott Fitzgerald’S This Side Of Paradise And Flappers And Philosophers, Andrew Riccardo Jan 2012

Anticipative Feminism In F. Scott Fitzgerald’S This Side Of Paradise And Flappers And Philosophers, Andrew Riccardo

The Oswald Review: An International Journal of Undergraduate Research and Criticism in the Discipline of English

No abstract provided.


Surviving The Waterless Flood: Feminism And Ecofeminsim In Margaret Atwood’S The Handmaid’S Tale, Oryx And Crake, And The Year Of The Flood, Karen Stein Dec 2011

Surviving The Waterless Flood: Feminism And Ecofeminsim In Margaret Atwood’S The Handmaid’S Tale, Oryx And Crake, And The Year Of The Flood, Karen Stein

Karen F Stein

No abstract provided.


Invisible Mink, Jessie L Janeshek May 2010

Invisible Mink, Jessie L Janeshek

Doctoral Dissertations

Emily Dickinson, Frances Sargent Osgood, and Sarah Piatt render the nineteenth-century “women’s sphere” ironically Unheimliche while simultaneously conveying it as the “home sweet home” the sentimental tradition prescribes it should be. These American women poets turn the domestic milieu into, as Paula Bennett phrases it, “the gothic mise en scene par excellence…the displacements, doublings, and anxieties characterizing gothic experience are the direct consequence of domestic ideology’s impact on the lives and psyches of ordinary bourgeois women (121-122).”

Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath continue to represent the Unheimliche home in their poetry through the middle of the twentieth ...