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UNT Theses and Dissertations - Browse

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The Rhetoric of Posthumanism in Four Twentieth-Century International Novels

Description: The dissertation traces the trope of the incomplete character in four twentieth-century cosmopolitan novels that reflect European colonialism in a global context. I argue that, by creating characters sharply aware of the insufficiency of the Self and thus constantly seeking the constitutive participation of the Other, the four authors E. M. Forster, Samuel Beckett, J. M. Coetzee, and Congwen Shen all dramatize the incomplete character as an agent of postcolonial resistance to Western humanism that, tending to enforce the divide between the Self and the Other, provided the epistemological basis for the emergence of European colonialism. For example, Fielding's good-willed aspiration to forge cross-cultural friendship in A Passage to India; Murphy's dogged search for recognition of his Irish identity in Murphy; Susan's unfailing compassion to restore Friday's lost speech in Foe; and Changshun Teng, the Chinese orange-grower's warm-hearted generosity toward his customers in Long River--all these textual occasions dramatize the incomplete character's anxiety over the Other's rejection that will impair the fullness of his or her being, rendering it solitary and empty. I relate this anxiety to the theory of "posthumanism" advanced by such thinkers as Marx, Bakhtin, Sartre, and Lacan; in their texts the humanist view of the individual as an autonomous constitution has undergone a transformation marked by the emphasis on locating selfhood not in the insular and static Self but in the mutable middle space connecting the Self and the Other.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Lin, Lidan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Working Whiteness: Performing And Transgressing Cultural Identity Through Work

Description: Early in Richard Wright's Native Son, we see Bigger and his friend Gus “playing white.” Taking on the role of “J. P. Morgan,” the two young black men give orders and act powerful, thus performing their perceived role of whiteness. This scene is more than an ironic comment on the characters' distance from the lifestyle of the J. P. Morgans of the world; their acts of whiteness are a representation of how whiteness is constructed. Such an analysis is similar to my own focus in this dissertation. I argue that whiteness is a culturally constructed identity and that work serves as a performative space for defining and transgressing whiteness. To this end, I examine work and its influence on the performance of middle class and working class whiteness, as well as how those outside the definitions of whiteness attempt to “play white,” as Bigger does. Work enables me to explore the codes of whiteness and how they are performed, understood, and transgressed by providing a locus of cultural performance. Furthermore, by looking at novels written in the early twentieth century, I am able to analyze characters at a historical moment in which work was of great import. With the labor movement at its peak, these novels, particularly those which specifically address socialism, participate in an understanding of work as a performative act more than a means to end. Within the context of this history and using the language of whiteness studies, I look at how gendered whiteness is transgressed and reinforced through the inverted job-roles of the Knapps in Dorothy Canfield's The Home-Maker, how work can cause those who possess the physical attributes of whiteness to transgress this cultural identity, as the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath demonstrate, and how the ascribed identities as non-white for Sara in The ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: Polizzi, Allessandria
Partner: UNT Libraries

Metaphors, Myths, and Archetypes: Equal Paradigmatic Functions in Human Cognition?

Description: The overview of contributions to metaphor theory in Chapters 1 and 2, examined in reference to recent scholarship, suggests that the current theory of metaphor derives from long-standing traditions that regard metaphor as a crucial process of cognition. This overview calls to attention the necessity of a closer inspection of previous theories of metaphor. Chapter 3 takes initial steps in synthesizing views of domains of inquiry into cognitive processes of the human mind. It draws from cognitive models developed in linguistics and anthropology, taking into account hypotheses put forth by psychologists like Jung. It sets the stage for an analysis that intends to further understanding of how the East-West dichotomy guides, influences, and expresses cognitive processes. Although linguist George Lakoff denies the existence of a connection between metaphors, myths, and archetypes, Chapter 3 illustrates the possibility of a relationship among these phenomena. By synthesizing theoretical approaches, Chapter 3 initiates the development of a model suitable for the analysis of the East-West dichotomy as exercised in Chapter 4. As purely emergent from bodily experience, however, neither the concept of the East nor the concept of the West can be understood completely. There exist cultural experiences that may, depending on historical and social context, override bodily experience inclined to favor the East over the West because of the respective connotations of place of birth of the sun and place of death of the sun. This kind of overriding cultural meaning is based on the “typical, frequently recurring and widely shared interpretations of some object, abstract entity, or event evoked in people as a result of similar experiences. To call these meanings ‘cultural meanings' is to imply that a different interpretation is evoked in people with different characteristic experiences. As such, various interpretations of the East-West image-schema exist simultaneously in mutually exclusive or ...
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Date: December 2002
Creator: Kalpakidis, Charalabos
Partner: UNT Libraries

Samuel Johnson's Epistolary Essays: His Use of Personae in The Rambler, The Adventurer, and The Idler

Description: One goal of the present study is to emphasize Johnson's "talent for fiction, the range of his comic invention, and the subtlety of his tone." A substantial group of essays from all three serials, those written in the form of letters ostensibly submitted to the essayist by his readers, appears to offer many examples of the inventiveness of Johnson's mind, and it is to this group that the term epistolary essays refers. Johnson was following a well-established tradition in utilizing the device of the imaginary correspondent, but the main objective of this dissertation is to analyze the various personae which Johnson adopted in these essays.
Date: August 1972
Creator: Vonler, Veva Donowho
Partner: UNT Libraries

Robert Penn Warren's Archetypal Triptych: A Study of the Myths of the Garden, the Journey, and Rebirth in The Cave, Wilderness, and Flood

Description: Robert Penn Warren, historian, short story writer, teacher, critic, poet, and novelist, has received favorable attention from literary critics as well as the general reading public. This attention is merited, in part, by Warren's narrative skill and by his use of imagery. A study of his novels reveals that his narrative technique and his imagery are closely related to his interest in myth.
Date: December 1971
Creator: Phillips, Billie Ray Sudberry, 1937-
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Lexicographer's Daughter: A Memoir

Description: This creative nonfiction dissertation is a memoir of the author's search for the somewhat mysterious hidden past of her father, the lexicographer Charles J. Lovell, who died in 1960, when the author was nine. Her father's early death left the author with many unanswered questions about his past and his family and so she undertakes a search to answer, if possible, some of those questions. Her search takes her to Portland, Maine; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Pasadena, California, where she tries to discover the facts and uncover the forces that shaped her father's life. Along the way, she realizes how profoundly his death affected and shaped her own life, contributing to the theme of loss that pervades the memoir. In addition, she begins to realize how much her mother, Dixie Hefley Lovell, whose significance she previously overlooked, shaped her life. Ultimately, she comes to understand and accept that some of her questions are unanswerable.
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Date: May 2011
Creator: Lovell, Bonnie Alice
Partner: UNT Libraries

Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

Description: For Muscogee Creek poet Joy Harjo, poetry is a real world force that can empower the reader by utilizing mythic memory, recovery of history, and a spiral journey to regain communal identity. Her poetic career transforms from early lyric poems to a hybridized form of prosody, prose, and myth to accommodate and to reflect Harjo's concerns as they progress from personal, to tribal, and then to global. She often employs a witnessing strategy to combat the trauma caused by racism in order to create the possibility for renewal and healing. Furthermore, Harjo's poetry combats forces that seek to define Native American existence negatively. To date, Harjo's poetic works create a myth that will refocus humanity's attention on the way in which historical meaning is produced and the way difference is encountered. In an effort to revise the dominant stories told about Indians, Harjo privileges the idea that Native Americans are present and human, and it is this sense of humanity that pervades her poetry. Sequentially, Joy Harjo's volumes of poetry-She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), and The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)-create a regenerative cycle that combats the effects of oppressive history and racism. Through her poetry, violent and tragic events are transformed into moments of hope and renewal. Her collections are powerful testimonies of endurance and survival. They directly defy the stereotype of the "vanishing" or "stoic" Indian, but more importantly, they offer regeneration and grace to all peoples. The poems create a map to help navigate the multiple simultaneous realms of existence, to find a way to travel through the barriers that separate existence. In this dissertation, I employ various reading strategies to support my contentions. Blending a postcolonial standpoint with feminism, I believe Harjo uses a feminist ethnic bildungsroman to ...
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Rose-Vails, Shannon
Partner: UNT Libraries

Jinxed

Description: My dissertation, Jinxed, developed out of my interest in the movement between the comic and the tragic by tracing the evolution of a romantic relationship. While employing biblical, classical, literary, and pop-cultural traditions, my manuscript has its most clear affinities with Renaissance poetry that navigates between the erotic and the spiritual. The sequence of poems recreates the character of Petrarch's Laura in the Little Redhead Girl, Charlie Brown's first love. My Laura, however, is a feisty secular Irish woman who simultaneously frustrates and attracts a religious narrator. To explore the multifaceted nature of their love, I employ a variety of poetic techniques, such as the repetition inherent in the villanelle to express the powerlessness of the narrator as he begins to fall in love. In "To a Young Philosopher," a sestina, one of the repeated words ("ephemeral") triggers a philosophical discussion that is a proposal of marriage. The manuscript also uses other forms such as the sonnet, Spenserian stanza, terza rima, couplets, and blank verse. Narratively, it ends with Charlie Brown after he has missed kicking Lucy's football, falling to earth literally and symbolically. Poems in the manuscript have appeared in journals such as The Wallace Stevens Journal, Talking River Review, and Passages North.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Davis, Richard
Partner: UNT Libraries

Change of Condition: Women's Rhetorical Strategies on Marriage, 1710-1756

Description: This dissertation examines ways in which women constructed and criticized matrimony both before and after their own marriages. Social historians have argued for the rise of companionacy in the eighteenth century without paying attention to women's accounts of the fears and uncertainties surrounding the prospect of marriage. I argue that having more latitude to choose a husband did not diminish the enormous impact that the choice would have on the rest of a woman's life; if anything, choice might increase that impact. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Hester Mulso Chapone, Mary Delany, and Eliza Haywood recorded their anxieties about and their criticisms of marriage in public and private writings from the early years of the century into the 1750s. They often elide their own complex backgrounds in favor of generalized policy statements on what constitutes a good marriage. These women promote an ideal of marriage based on respect and similarity of character, suggesting that friendship is more honest, and durable than romantic love. This definition of ideal marriage enables these women to argue for more egalitarian marital relationships without overtly calling for a change in the wife's traditional role. The advancement of this ideal of companionacy gave women a means of promoting gender equality in marriage at a time when they considered marriage risky but socially and economically necessary.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Wood, Laura Thomason
Partner: UNT Libraries

Radius

Description: This paper includes a 62-page book of original poems, 19 pages of which are visual poetry, and a 29-page preface which discusses visual poetry.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Roelke, Jean Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

What Do You Do? A Memoir in Essays

Description: These personal essays present a twenty-something's evolving attitudes toward her occupations. Each essay explores a different job-from birthday party clown, to seitan-maker, to psychiatric den mother-while circling around sub-themes of addiction, disability, sex, love, nature, and nourishment (both food and otherwise). Through landscape, extended metaphor and symbol, and recurring characters, the collection addresses how a person's work often defines how she sees the world. Each of the narrator's jobs thrusts her into networks of people and places that both helps and impedes the process of self-discovery. As a whole, the essay collection functions as a memoir, tracking an often-universal journey, one that many undertake in order to discover a meaningful life, and sometimes, eventually, a career.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Keckler, Kristen A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Absalom, Absalom! A Study of Structure

Description: The conclusion drawn from this study is that the arrangement of material in Absalom, Absalom! is unified and purposeful. The structure evokes that despair that is the common denominator of mankind. It reveals both the bond between men and the separation of men; and though some of the most dramatic episodes in the novel picture the union of men in brotherly love, most of the material and certainly the arrangement of the material emphasize the estrangement of men. In addition, by juxtaposing chapters, each separated from the others by its own structural and thematic qualities, Faulkner places a burden of interpretation on the reader suggestive of the burden of despair that overwhelms the protagonists of the novel.
Date: August 1973
Creator: Major, Sylvia Beth Bigby
Partner: UNT Libraries

Some Linguistic Aspects of the Heroic Couplet in the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley

Description: This dissertation is an examination of the characteristics of Phillis Wheatley's couplet poems in the areas of meter, rhyme, and syntax. The metrical analysis employs Morris Halle and Samuel Jay Keyser's theory of iambic pentameter, the rhyme examination considers the various factors involved in rhyme selection and rhyme function, and the syntactic analysis is conducted within the theoretical framework of a generative grammar similar to that proposed in Noam Chomsky's "Aspects of the Theory of Syntax" (1965). The findings in these three areas are compared with the characteristics of a representative sample of the works of Alexander Pope, the poet who supposedly exerted a strong influence on Wheatley, a black eighteenth century American poet.
Date: August 1973
Creator: Holder, Kenneth R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell

Description: Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell examines the Restoration and eighteenth-century libertine figure as it appears in John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester's Satyr against Mankind, "The Maim'd Debauchee," and "Upon His Drinking a Bowl," Thomas Shadwell's The Libertine, William Wycherley's The Country Wife, and James Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763. I argue that the limitations and self-contradictions of standard definitions of libertinism and the ways in which libertine protagonists and libertinism in general function as critiques of libertinism. Moreover, libertine protagonists and poetic personae reinterpret libertinism to accommodate their personal agendas and in doing so, satirize the idea of libertinism itself and identify the problematization of "libertinism" as a category of gender and social identity. That is, these libertines misinterpret-often deliberately-Hobbes to justify their opposition and refusal to obey social institutions-e.g., eventually marrying and engaging in a monogamous relationship with one's wife-as well as their endorsement of obedience to nature or sense, which can include embracing a libertine lifestyle in which one engages in sexual encounters with multiple partners, refuses marriage, and questions the existence of God or at least distrusts any sort of organized religion. Since any attempts to define the word "libertinism"-or at least any attempts to provide a standard definition of the word-are tenuous at best, it is equally tenuous to suggest that any libertines conform to conventional or standard libertinism. In fact, the literary and "real life" libertines in this study not only fail to conform to such definitions of libertinism, but also reinterpret libertinism. While all these libertines do possess similar characteristics-namely affluence, insatiable sexual appetites, and a rebellion against institutional authorities (the Church, reason, government, family, and marriage)-they often misinterpret libertinism, reason, and Hobbesian philosophy. Furthermore, they all choose different, unique ways to oppose patriarchal, social authorities. These aberrant ways ...
Date: May 2008
Creator: Smith, Victoria
Partner: UNT Libraries

Anything Like Us

Description: Anything Like Us is a collection of poems with a critical introduction. In this introduction, I explore modern alternatives to Romantic and Neo-Romantic lyric expression. I conclude that a contemporary lyric that desires to be, in some fashion, about itself, must exhibit an acceptance of the mediating influences of time and language, while cultivating an inter-subjective point-of-view that does not insist too much on the authority of a single, coherent voice. The poems in Anything Like Us reflect, in both form and content, many of the conclusions advanced in the introduction. Nearly all the poems concern the desire for, and failure to find, meaningful connections in an uncertain world .
Date: August 2002
Creator: Roth, Matthew
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

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

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

The Apostasy (and Return) of Lenny Gorsuch

Description: This comic romantic novel engages the question of how the Christianity of the southern, fundamentalist world of the Texas bible belt, finding its primary cultural assumptions about human existence challenged by the more confusing elements of a modern sensibility, a sensibility over-laden with strange-attractors, mechanistic psychologies, relativistic physics and ethics, evolutionary premises, newly proclaimed rights and freedoms, a deterioration in cultural political naivete, and the advent of an increasingly incomprehensible set of technologies, can survive. The "central" character is a young, slightly deformed man raised by his ostensibly "Christian" grandparents who, through a rather odd set of legal circumstances and physical events, not only become wealthy, but somewhat powerful in their immediate community. He finds himself involved with a young woman, raised in an equally "Christian" household, but, as is true of any romantic plot, the relationship between the two is destined, by virtue of circumstance and the meddling of other characters, to struggle and mishap. In the end, the text, in its own fashion, asserts that the Christian impulse can survive the modern era by virtue of one of its central tenets: faith, in the Christian world, is very much the same as life itself, a process of waiting and expecting. Its greatest threat, rather than something intrinsic to the modern period, is perhaps that of the dogmatism and misunderstanding of the characters who most loudly proclaim it to others.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Guidici, Guy R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Theme of Isolation in Selected Short Fiction of Kate Chopin, Katherine Anne Porter, and Eudora Welty

Description: "The Theme of Isolation in Selected Short Fiction of Kate Chopin, Katherine Anne Porter, and Eudora Welty" examines certain prototypical natures of isolation as recurrent and underlying themes in selected short fiction of Chopin, Porter, and Welty. Despite the differing backgrounds of the three Southern women writers, and despite the variety of issues they treat, the theme of isolation permeates most of their short fiction. I categorize and analyze their short stories by the nature and the treatment of the varieties of isolation. The analysis and comparison of their short stories from this particular perspective enables readers to link the three writers and to acknowledge their artistic talent and grasp of human psychology and situations.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Arima, Hiroko, 1959-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Religion and Politics in the Poetry of W.B. Yeats

Description: Previous critics have paid insufficient attention to the political implications of Yeats's life-long preoccupation with a wide range of Western and Eastern religious traditions. Though he always preserved some skepticism about mysticism's ability to reshape the material world, the early Yeats valued the mystical idea of oneness in part because he hoped (mistakenly, as it turned out) that such oneness would bring Catholic and Protestant Ireland together in a way that might make the goals of Irish nationalism easier to accomplish. Yeats's celebration of mystical oneness does not reflect a pseudo-fascistic commitment to a static, oppressive unity. Like most mystics—and most modernists—Yeats conceived of both religious and political oneness not as a final end but rather as an ongoing process, a "way of happening" (as Auden put it).
Date: August 1997
Creator: Yoo, Baekyun
Partner: UNT Libraries

Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Hell: the Rhetoric of Universality in Bessie Head

Description: This dissertation approaches the work of South African/Botswanan novelist Bessie Head, especially the novel A Question of Power, as positioned within the critical framework of the postcolonial paradigm, the genius of which accommodates both African and African American literature without recourse to racial essentialism. A central problematic of postcolonial literary criticism is the ideological stance postcolonial authors adopt with respect to the ideology of the metropolis, whether on the one hand the stances they adopt are collusive, or on the other oppositional. A key contested concept is that of universality, which has been widely regarded as a witting or unwitting tool of the metropolis, having the effect of denigrating the colonial subject. It is my thesis that Bessie Head, neither entirely collusive nor oppositional, advocates an Africanist universality that paradoxically eliminates the bias implicit in metropolitan universality.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Edwards, George, Jr.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Naturalist

Description: The Naturalist is a collection of poems with a critical preface. In this preface, titled "'Death is the mother of beauty': The Contemporary Elegy and the Search for the Dead," I examine contemporary alterations and manifestations of the traditional genre of elegy. I explore the idea that the contemporary mourner is aware of the need to search for meaning despite living in a world without a centrally believed mythology. This search exposes the mourner's need to remain connected to the dead and, by proxy, to grace. I conclude that the contemporary elegy, through metaphorical figuration, personal memory, and traditional symbolism, simultaneously employs and denies the traditional elegiac conventions of apotheosis and resurrection by reconceiving them as methods not of achieving transcendence but of embracing desire with an acceptance of the inability to transcend. The poems of The Naturalist are a collection of elegies that reflect many of the ideas brought forth in the preface.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Harvell, Elizabeth A.
Partner: UNT Libraries