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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

The Evolution of Dexter and Me

Description: The Evolution of Dexter and Me is a collection of one vignette and four short stories. All of the stories deal with young men figuring out and coping with their daily life and environment. The "Dexter stories" deal with a character I developed and evolved, Dexter, a sane young man trying to find the best way to cope in an insane system.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Bond, Ray (Edgar Ray)

"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

The Monomythic Journey of the Feminine 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)

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-

Pre-Feminist Indicators in Margaret Oliphant's Early Responses to the Woman Question

Description: Margaret Oliphant's fiction has generated some interest in recent years, but her prose essays have been ignored. Critics contend her essays are unimportant and dismiss Oliphant as a hack writer who had little sympathy with her sex. These charges are untrue, however, because many influences complicated Oliphant's writings on the Woman Question. She suffered recurring financial difficulties and gender discrimination, she lacked formal education, and most of her work was published by Blackwood's, a conservative, male-oriented periodical edited by a close personal friend. Readers who are aware of these influences find Oliphant's earliest three essays about the Woman Question especially provocative because in them Oliphant explored the dichotomy between the perceived and the real lives of women. Oliphant refined her opinions each time she wrote on the Woman Question, and a more coherent, more clearly feminist, perspective emerges in each succeeding article. In "The Laws Concerning Women," despite Oliphant's apparent position, pre-feminist markers suggest that she is tentative about feminist ideas rather than negative towards them. "The Condition of Women" offers even more prefeminist markers, Oliphant's ostensible support of the patriarchal status quo notwithstanding. In "The Great Unrepresented," an article cited by some as proof that Oliphant was against women's suffrage, she argues not against enfranchising women, but against the method proposed for securing the vote. In this article, many pre-feminist markers have become decidedly feminist. Scholars may have overlooked Oliphant's feminism because her rhetorical strategies are more complicated than those of most other Victorian critics and invite her audience to read between the lines. Although her writing sometimes lacks unity and focus, and her prose is often turgid, convoluted, and digressive, she creates elaborate inverse arguments with claims supporting patriarchy but evidence that supports feminism. A rich feminist subtext lies beneath the surface text of Oliphant's essays, demonstrating that ...
Date: December 1996
Creator: Spencer, Sandra L.

The Rhetoric of Androgyny: Gender and Boundaries in Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness

Description: The androgyny of the Gethenians in The Left Hand of Darkness is a vehicle for Ursula Le Guin's rhetoric concerning gender roles. Le Guin attempts to make the reader identify with an ideal form of androgyny, through which she argues that many of the problems of human existence, from rape and war to dualistic thought and sexism, are products of gender roles and would be absent in an androgynous world. The novel also links barriers of separation and Othering with masculine thought, and deconstructs these separative boundaries of opposition, while promoting connective borders which acknowledge difference without creating opposition. The novel thus criticizes gendered thought processes and social roles, because they lead to opposition and separation.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Gleason, Benjamin P. (Benjamin Patrick)