UNT Theses and Dissertations - 32 Matching Results

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The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition

Description: The dissertation argues that the development of the British abolition movement was based on the abolitionists' perception that their actions were kairotic; they attempted to shape their own kairos by taking temporal events and reinterpreting them to construct a kairotic process that led to a perceived fulfillment: abolition. Thus, the dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies used by white abolitionists to construct an abolitionist kairos that was designed to produce salvation for white Britons more than it was to help free blacks. The dissertation especially examines the three major texts produced by black persons living in England during the late eighteenth centuryIgnatius Sancho's Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), Ottobauh Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789)to illustrate how black rhetoric was appropriated by whites to fulfill their own kairotic desires. By examining the rhetorical strategies employed in both white and black rhetorics, the dissertation illustrates how the abolitionists thought the movement was shaped by, and how they were shaping the movement through, kairotic time. While the dissertation contends that the abolition movement was rhetorically designed to provide redemption, and thus salvation, it illustrates that the abolitionist's intent was not merely to save the slave, but to redeem blacks first in the eyes of white Christians by opening blacks to an understanding and acceptance of God. Perhaps more importantly, abolitionists would use black salvation to buy back their own souls and the soul of their nation in the eyes of God in order to regain their own salvation lost in the slave trade. But ironically, they had to appear to be saving others to save themselves. So white abolitionists used the black narratives to persuade their overwhelmingly white audience ...
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Date: December 1999
Creator: Evans, Dennis F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

American Grotesque from Nineteenth Century to Modernism: the Latter's Acceptance of the Exceptional

Description: This dissertation explores a history of the grotesque and its meaning in art and literature along with those of its related term, the arabesque, since their co-existence, specifically in literature, is later treated by a well-known nineteenth-century American writer in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque- Theories or views of the grotesque (used in literature), both in Europe and America, belong to twelve theorists of different eras, ranging from the sixteenth century to the present period, especially Modernism (approximately from 1910 to 1945)--Rabelais, Hegel, Scott, Wright, Hugo, Symonds, Ruskin, Santayana, Kayser, Bakhtin, (William Van) O'Connor, and Spiegel. My study examines the grotesque in American literature, as treated by both nineteenth-century writers--Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, and, significantly, by modernist writers--Anderson, West, and Steinbeck in Northern (or non-Southern) literature; Faulkner, McCullers, and (Flannery) O'Connor in Southern literature. I survey several novels and short stories of these American writers for their grotesqueries in characterization and episodes. The grotesque, as treated by these earlier American writers is often despised, feared, or mistrusted by other characters, but is the opposite in modernist fiction.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Kisawadkorn, Kriengsak
Partner: UNT Libraries

Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison

Description: In this dissertation, I show how 20th century African-American women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison utilize animals-as-trope in order to illustrate the writers' humanity and literary vision. In the texts that I have selected, I have found that animals-as-trope functions in two important ways: the first function of animal as trope is a pragmatic one, which serves to express the humanity of African Americans; and the second function of animal tropes in African-American women's fiction is relational and expresses these writers' "ethic of caring" that stems from their folk and womanist world view. Found primarily in slave narratives and in domestic fiction of the 19th and early 20th centuries, pragmatic animal metaphors and/or similes provide direct analogies between the treatment of African-Americans and animals. Here, these writers often engage in rhetoric that challenges pro-slavery apologists, who attempted to disprove the humanity of African-Americans by portraying them as animals fit to be enslaved. Animals, therefore, become the metaphor of both the abolitionist and the slavery apologist for all that is not human. The second function of animals-as-trope in the fiction of African-American women writers goes beyond the pragmatic goal of proving African-Americans's common humanity, even though one could argue that this goal is still present in contemporary African-American fiction. Animals-as-trope also functions to express the African-American woman writer's understanding that 1) all oppressions stem from the same source; 2) that the division between nature/culture is a false onethat a universal connection exists between all living creatures; and 3) that an ethic of caring, or relational epistemology, can be extended to include non-human animals. Twentieth-century African-American writers such as Hurston, Walker, and Morrison participate in what anthropologists term, "neototemism," which is the contemporary view that humankind is part of nature, or a vision that Morrison would ...
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Date: August 1999
Creator: Erickson, Stacy M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Asleep in the Arms of God

Description: A work of creative fiction in the form of a short novel, Asleep in the Arms of God is a limited-omniscient and omniscient narrative describing the experiences of a man named Wafer Roberts, born in Jack County, Texas, in 1900. The novel spans the years from 1900 to 1925, and moves from the Keechi Valley of North Texas, to Fort Worth and then France during World War One, and back again to the Keechi Valley. The dissertation opens with a preface, which examines the form of the novel, and regional and other aspects of this particular work, especially as they relate to the postmodern concern with fragmentation and conditional identity. Wafer confronts in the novel aspects of his own questionable history, which echo the larger concern with exploitative practices including racism, patriarchy, overplanting and overgrazing, and pollution, which contribute to and climax in the postmodern fragmentation. The novel attempts to make a critique of the exploitative rage of Western civilization.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Clay, Kevin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

(Broken) Promises

Description: The dissertation begins with an introductory chapter that examines the short story cycle as a specific genre, outlines tendencies found in minimalist fiction, and discusses proposed definitions of the short story genre. The introduction examines the problems that short story theorists encounter when they try to.define the short story genre in general. Part of the problem results from the lack of a definition of the short story in the Aristotelian sense of a definition. A looser, less traditional definition of literary genres helps solve some of the problem. Minimalist fiction and the short story cycle are discussed as particular forms of the short story. Sixteen short stories follow the introduction.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Champion, Laurie, 1959-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature

Description: Though much has been made of Chaucer's saintly characters, relatively little has been made of Chaucer's approach to hagiography. While strictly speaking Chaucer produced only one true saint's life (the Second Nun's Tale), he was repeatedly intrigued and challenged by exemplary literature. The few studies of Chaucer's use of hagiography have tended to claim either his complete orthodoxy as hagiographer, or his outright parody of the genre. My study mediates the orthodoxy/parody split by viewing Chaucer as a serious, but self-conscious, hagiographer, one who experimented with the possibilities of exemplary narrative and explored the rhetorical tensions intrinsic to the genre, namely the tensions between transcendence and imminence, reverence and identification, and epideictic deliberative discourse.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Youmans, Karen DeMent
Partner: UNT Libraries

East, West, Somewhere in the Middle

Description: A work of creative fiction in novella form, this dissertation follows the first-person travails of Mitch Zeller, a 26-year-old gay man who is faced with an unexpected choice. The dissertation opens with a preface which examines the form of the novella and the content of this particular work.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Behlen, Shawn Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Quest for the Father

Description: This dissertation explores Elizabeth Barrett's dependency on the archetypal Victorian patriarch. Chapter I focuses on the psychological effects of this father-daughter relationship on Elizabeth Barrett. Chapter II addresses Barrett's acceptance of the conventional female role, which is suggested by the nature and the situation of the women she chooses to depict. These women are placed in situations where they can reveal their devotion to family, their capacity for passive endurance, and their wish to resist. Almost always, they choose death as an alternative to life where a powerful father figure is present. Chapter III concentrates on the highly sentimental images of women and children whom Barrett places in a divine order, where they exist untouched by the concerns of the social order of which they are a part. Chapter IV shows that the conventional ideologies of the time, society's commitment to the "angel in the house," and the small number of female role models before her increase her difficulty to find herself a place within this order. Chapter V discusses Aurora Leigh's mission to find herself an identity and to maintain the connection with her father or father substitute. Despite Elizabeth Barrett's desire to break away from her paternal ties and to establish herself as an independent woman and poet, her unconditional loyalty and love towards her father and her tremendous need for his affection, and the security he provides restrain her resistance and surface the child in her.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Yegenoglu, Dilara
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Gender of Time in the Eighteenth-century English Novel

Description: This study takes a structuralist approach to the development of the novel, arguing that eighteenth-century writers build progressive narrative by rendering abstract, then conflating, literary theories of gendered time that originate in the Renaissance with seventeenth-century scientific theories of motion. I argue that writers from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century generate and regulate progress-as-product in their narratives through gendered constructions of time that corresponded to the generation and regulation of economic, political, and social progress brought about by developing capitalism.
Date: December 1998
Creator: Leissner, Debra Holt
Partner: UNT Libraries

Interactions Between Texts, Illustrations, and Readers: The Empiricist, Imperialist Narratives and Polemics of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Description: While literary critics heretofore have subordinated Conan Doyle to more "canonical" writers, the author argues that his writings enrich our understanding of the ways in which Victorians and Edwardians constructed their identity as imperialists and that we therefore cannot afford to overlook Conan Doyle's work.
Date: December 1995
Creator: Favor, Lesli J.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Into the Woods: Wilderness Imagery as Representation of Spiritual and Emotional Transition in Medieval Literature

Description: Wilderness landscape, a setting common in Romantic literature and painting, is generally overlooked in the art of the Middle Ages. While the medieval garden and the city are well mapped, the medieval wilderness remains relatively trackless. Yet the use of setting to represent interior experience may be traced back to the Neo-Platonic use of space and movement to define spiritual development. Separating themselves as far as possible from the material world, such writers as Origen and Plotinus avoided use of representational detail in their spatial models; however, both the visual artists and the authors who adopted the Neo-Platonic paradigm, elaborated their emotional spaces with the details of the classical locus amoenus and of the exegetical desert, while retaining the philosophical concern with spiritual transition. Analysis of wilderness as an image for spiritual and emotional transition in medieval literature and art relates the texts to an iconographic tradition which, along with motifs of city and garden, provides a spatial representation of interior progress, as the medieval dialectic process provides a paradigm for intellectual resolution. Such an analysis relates the motif to the core of medieval intellectual experience, and further suggests significant connections between medieval and modern narratives in regard to the representation of interior experience. The Divine Comedy and related Continental texts employ both classical and exegetical sources in the representation of psychological transition and spiritual conversion. Similar techniques are also apparent in English texts such as Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon elegies, in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, and Troilus and Criseyde, and in the northern English The Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. These literary texts, further, include both ideas and techniques which are analogous to those of visual arts, where frescos and altarpieces show the wilderness as metaphor for transition, and ...
Date: August 1997
Creator: Sholty, Janet Poindexter
Partner: UNT Libraries

Language and Identity in Post-1800 Irish Drama

Description: Using a sociolinguistic and post-colonial approach, I analyze Irish dramas that speak about language and its connection to national identity. In order to provide a systematic and wide-ranging study, I have selected plays written at approximately fifty-year intervals and performed before Irish audiences contemporary to their writing. The writers selected represent various aspects of Irish society--religiously, economically, and geographically--and arguably may be considered the outstanding theatrical Irish voices of their respective generations. Examining works by Alicia LeFanu, Dion Boucicault, W.B. Yeats, and Brian Friel, I argue that the way each of these playwrights deals with language and identity demonstrates successful resistance to the destruction of Irish identity by the dominant language power. The work of J. A. Laponce and Ronald Wardhaugh informs my language dominance theory. Briefly, when one language pushes aside another language, the cultural identity begins to shift. The literature of a nation provides evidence of the shifting perception. Drama, because of its performance qualities, provides the most complex and complete literary evidence. The effect of the performed text upon the audience validates a cultural reception beyond what would be possible with isolated readers. Following a theoretical introduction, I analyze the plays in chronological order. Alicia LeFanu's The Sons of Erin; or, Modern Sentiment (1812) gently pleads for equal treatment in a united Britain. Dion Boucicault's three Irish plays, especially The Colleen Bawn (1860) but also Arrah-na-Pogue (1864) and The Shaughraun (1875), satirically conceal rebellious nationalist tendencies under the cloak of melodrama. W. B. Yeats's The Countess Cathleen (1899) reveals his romantic hope for healing the national identity through the powers of language. However, The Only Jealousy of Emer (1919) and The Death of Cuchulain (1939) reveal an increasing distrust of language to mythically heal Ireland. Brian Friel's Translations (1980), supported by The Communication Cord (1982) and Making ...
Date: May 1994
Creator: Duncan, Dawn E. (Dawn Elaine)
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Mislike Me not for My Complexion": Shakespearean Intertextuality in the Works of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women

Description: Caliban, the ultimate figure of linguistic and racial indeterminacy in The Tempest, became for African-American writers a symbol of colonial fears of rebellion against oppression and southern fears of black male sexual aggression. My dissertation thus explores what I call the "Calibanic Quadrangle" in essays and novels by Anna Julia Cooper, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins. The figure of Caliban allows these authors to inflect the sentimental structure of the novel, to elevate Calibanic utterance to what Cooper calls "crude grandeur and exalted poesy," and to reveal the undercurrent of anxiety in nineteenth-century American attempts to draw rigid racial boundaries. The Calibanic Quadrangle enables this thorough critique because it allows the black woman writer to depict the oppression of the "Other," southern fears of black sexuality, the division between early black and white women's issues, and the enduring innocence of the progressive, educated, black female hero ~ all within the legitimized boundaries of the Shakespearean text, which provides literary authority to the minority writer. I call the resulting Shakespearean intertextuality a Quadrangle because in each of these African-American works a Caliban figure, a black man or "tragic mulatto" who was once "petted" and educated, struggles within a hostile environment of slavery and racism ruled by the Prospero figure, the wielder of "white magic," who controls reproduction, fears miscegenation, and enforces racial hierarchy. The Miranda figure, associated with the womb and threatened by the specter of miscegenation, advocates slavery and perpetuates the hostile structure. The Ariel figure, graceful and ephemeral, usually the "tragic mulatta" and a slave, desires her freedom and complements the Caliban figure. Each novel signals the presence of the paradigm by naming at least one character from The Tempest (Caliban in Cooper's A Voice from the South; "Mirandy" in Harper's Iola Leroy; Prospero in Hopkins's ...
Date: August 1996
Creator: Birge, Amy Anastasia
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Monomythic Journey of the Feminie Hero in the Novels of Anita Brookner

Description: Joseph Campbell, in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, establishes a pattern for the hero to answer the call to adventure, ask the question of the goddess and receive her boon, and return to his homeland. Campbell does not, however, make any suggestions about a myth whose protagonist is female. Erich Neumann, in The Origins and History of Consciousness, hints that the woman may, indeed, be her own goddess, that she must give herself the boon she already carries. The novels of Anita Brookner illustrate the dual nature of the feminine protagonist: the seeker and the boon giver. The feminine hero (even when Brookner's protagonist is masculine, he exhibits feminine qualities) hears the call to adventure, receives the teachings of the goddess and/or her representative, receives help fromother beings (in myth these would be supernatural beings), realizes that she carries the answer to the cosmic question of selfhood within her, and, following an apotheosis, makes a return to society. Much of the present work is spent delving into both the monomythic and feminist structures of Brookner's novels. Although Brookner characterizes herself as a "reluctant feminist," examination of her novels reveals a subtle adherence to feminist principles which can be ascertained by viewing each novel in terms of the monomyth schema.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Rutledge, Mary E. (Mary Elizabeth)
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Monstrance: A Collection of Poems

Description: These poems deconstruct Mary Shelley's monster from a spiritually Chthonian, critically post-structuralist creative stance. But the process here is not simple disruption of the original discourse; this poetry cycle transforms the monster's traditional body, using what pieces are left from reception/vivisection to reconstruct, through gradual accretion, new authority for each new form, each new appendage.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Dietrich, Bryan D. (Bryan David)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Morality in Six Novels of Martin Amis

Description: Six novels of Martin Amis--The Rachel Papers, Dead Babies, Success, Money: A Suicide Note, London Fields, and The Information--are analyzed to determine to what extent they uphold moral standards traditional in Western society, particularly the categories of virtue that have descended from Aristotle and Aquinas. Thus the novels are analyzed in relation to what they show about the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, courage, and justice, and the intellectual virtues of knowledge, art, skill, and understanding. Nearly all of these virtues turn out to be important in varying degrees. Faith and hope are mocked, and courage is given incidental attention. The other virtues, however, are strongly upheld, including prudence and temperance, and particularly love, justice, and the intellectual virtues. In the earlier novels, the protagonists understand love between adults egoistically, only as romance or sexual passion, with emphasis not on the welfare of the other but on getting what one wants. The need for parental love is upheld, however, with a clear understanding that its lack produces danger for the children and for society. The protagonists pity the weak, but have little understanding of love as self-sacrifice. Ego-based justice predominates as the primary motive—obtaining what the self thinks is deserved. The intellectual virtues then become servants of this self-centered justice rather than servants of others-centered love. Though the extreme results of this situation are decried, especially in Dead Babies, generally the protagonists do not realize the extent of their egoism and lack of love. In London Fields and The Information, self-sacrifice, particularly for the sake of children, emerges, and what little hope there is is invested in family love. Love between adults is still largely justice-based, but there is some evidence that all the virtues, including justice and intellect, are subordinated ...
Date: May 1996
Creator: Snyder, Cara L. (Cara Lynn), 1947-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Night of No Exile

Description: Night of no Exile is a collection of poems preceded by a critical article entitled "‘Exile seems both a blessing and a curse': A Blissful Reading of Li-Young Lee's Poetry." That article discusses Lee's quest to achieve communication, truth, and transcendence through poetic language and concludes that he finally reaches his goal through a leap from narrative poetry to lyricism. The "exile" alluded to in the title of the article is not only geographic, but also interioran exile due to the natural limitations of all languages, and which can be bridged only in linguistic ways. Lee's solution to that problem (lyricism) turns his poetry into what Roland Barthes would call "a text of bliss," a text that manages to deeply destabilize language, while simultaneously achieving a new kind of meaning. In the main body of the manuscript, the first section contains short love lyrics. The second section, "Night of no Exile," is an attempt at the demanding genre of the longer lyric poem. The third section uses short lyrics to explore various topics, such as discovering one's identity, friendship and solidarity between women, family history, and childhood memories. Finally, the last section includes poems, four of them longer, attempting to combine narrative and lyric impulses in a way not unlike Li-Young Lee's experimentation with those two genres.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Jones, Marie C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Opened Letter: Rereading Hawthorne

Description: The recent publication of the bulk of Hawthorne's letters has precipitated this study, which deals with Hawthorne's creative and subversive narration and his synchronic appeal to a variety of readers possessing different tastes. The author initially investigates Hawthorne's religion and demonstrate how he disguised his personal religious convictions, ambiguously using the intellectual categories of Calvinism, Unitarianism, and spiritualism to promote his own humanistic "religion." Hawthorne's appropriation of the jeremiad further illustrates his emphasis on religion and narration. Although his religion remained humanistic, he readily used the old Puritan political sermon to describe and defend his own financial hardships. That jeremiad outlook has significant implications for his art.
Date: December 1998
Creator: Smith, Grace Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

Orality-Literacy Theory and the Victorian Sermon

Description: In this study, I expand the scope of the scholarship that Walter Ong and others have done in orality-literacy relations to examine the often uneasy juxtaposition of the oral and written traditions in the literature of the Victorian pulpit. I begin by examining the intersections of the oral and written traditions found in both the theory and the practice of Victorian preaching. I discuss the prominent place of the sermon within both the print and oral cultures of Victorian Britain; argue that the sermon's status as both oration and essay places it in the genre of "oral literature"; and analyze the debate over the extent to which writing should be employed in the preparation and delivery of sermons.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Ellison, Robert H. (Robert Howard)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy

Description: In Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy, I contend that McCarthy's literary aesthetic develops and changes as he moves from Tennessee to Texas. McCarthy's conspicuous Southern and Southwestern regional affiliations have led critics to expect his works to recapitulate native history, traditions, and myths. Yet, McCarthy transcends provincial regionalism by challenging the creation of the regional and national myths we confuse with our actual histories and identities. McCarthy's fictions point away from accepted histories and point instead to figures marginalized by society and myth makers. These figures, according to McCarthy, are just as much a part of the creation of myth as those figures indelibly imprinted on our consciousness by literary and historical tradition. My dissertation, in many respects, focuses on McCarthy's debunking of both literary and historical tradition, and his concomitant revitalization of American identity.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Wegner, John M. (John Michael)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Plain and Ugly Janes: the Rise of the Ugly Woman in Contemporary American Fiction

Description: Women characters in American literature of the nineteenth century form an overwhelmingly lovely group, but a search through some of the overlooked works reveals a thin but discernible thread of plain, even homely, heroines. Most of these fall into the stereotypical "old maid" category, and, like their real-life counterparts, these "undesirable" women are considered failures, even if they have money or satisfying careers, because they do not have boyfriends, husbands, or children. During the twentieth century, the old maid figure develops into someone not just homely, but downright ugly; in addition, the number of these characters increases, especially in the latter half of the century. In many works written since the 1960s, the woman's ugliness is such an intrinsic part of the story that it could not take place if she were beautiful. In subtle ways, these "ugly woman" stories begin to question the overwhelming value placed on beauty, to question the narrow definition of beauty in American society as a whole, and to suggest that the price for such a "blessing" might indeed be too high. Rather than settling for being a mere "heroine"—which still carries feminine connotations of passive behavior and second-class status—the ugly woman's increase in power over her own life and the lives of others, allows her to achieve a status more in keeping with the more "masculine" and active role of hero.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Wright, Charlotte M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious

Description: This study addresses the ideological properties of the two main modal strains in fictional representation of romance and realism in order to provide an antidote to the currently extremely negative view of the representational function of fiction. In the course of the discussion, three received positions in traditional literary criticism are challenged. Firstly, the view of literary form as ideology-free is undermined by demonstrating the ideological properties of the two modes. Secondly, the realism/romance binary opposition regarding the mode of fictional representation is critiqued by both uncovering the misconception of the former's competence for transparent representation and evincing the two modes' ideologically interactive relation. Lastly, the categorization of Henry James as an aesthete is problematized by historicizing and socializing his three texts.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Kim, Bong-Gwang
Partner: UNT Libraries