Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

1063

Date

2014

Date of Award

4-28-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

English

Concentration

Literature

Committee Chair

Scraba Jeffrey

Committee Member

Link Carl Eric

Committee Member

Cohoon Lorinda

Abstract

In nineteenth-century American literature, the trope of the “female individualist” is one who cultivates an individualistic ethical code based on her own desires, which emboldens her to overcome the dominance of a repressive, patriarchal culture. The primary texts examined are Rebecca Harding Davis’ Life in the Iron Mills, Louisa May Alcott’s Old Fashioned Girl, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Henry James’ Madame de Mauves and William Dean Howells’ A Hazard of New Fortunes. In chapters two and three, a comparison of the works by these women with those of the men reveal the different intentions for—and portrayals of—the female individualist. In chapters four and five, the functions of female oppression in the texts are analyzed to reveal the strategies for liberation each female individualist employs. In essence, this study reveals the emergence in nineteenth-century American texts of a strong, female nonconformist and her social perception.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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