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Anne Tyler's Treatment of Managing Women

Description: Among the most important characters in contemporary writer Anne Tyler's nine novels of modern American life are her skillfully-drawn managing women who choose the family circle as the arena in which to use their skills and exert their influence. Strong, competent, independent, capable of caring for themselves, their husbands, their children, and others, too, as well as holding outside jobs, these women are the linchpins of their families. Among their most outstanding qualities are their abilities to endure hardships with heads high and skills unhampered. Within this broad category of managing women, Tyler clearly delineates two types of managers: the regenerative managing woman and the rigid managing woman. A major character in every novel, the regenerative managing woman not only endures, she also adapts. The key to her development and her strength is her capacity for trying again, renewing herself, and her family relationships. The evolution of a vital regenerative woman from a lonely childhood through the beginning of her vibrant womanhood is a key element in every Tyler novel. This development always includes an escape from her original family? an attempt to establish her own family; at least one major hardship that often sends her reeling home; and finally, at least one new start toward establishing her ideal family circle. Tyler's treatment of the regenerative managing woman in the first four novels concentrates on her young womanhood and her early establishment of her family. The later novels begin when the regenerative managing woman is in her thirties or forties and concentrate primarily on the ways the regenerative woman manages her family. Many of Tyler's novels also feature a rigid managing woman. While this character type manages with strength and competence, she is not a positive influence on her family. She endures. But she does not adapt. Too proud to ...
Date: August 1985
Creator: Brock, Dorothy Faye Sala

The Critical Response to Philosophical Ideas in Walker Percy's Novels

Description: Walker Percy differs from other American novelists in that he started writing fiction relatively late in life, after being trained as a physician and after considerable reading and writing in philosophy. Although critics have appreciated Percy's skills as a writer, they have seen Percy above all as a novelist of ideas, and, accordingly, the majority of critical articles and books about Percy has dealt with his themes, especially his philosophical themes, as well as with his philosophical sources. This study explores, therefore, the critical response to philosophical ideas in Percy's five novels to date, as evidenced first by reviews, then by the later articles and books. The critical response developed gradually as critics became aware of Percy's aims and pointed out his use of Christian existentialism and his attacks upon Cartesianism, Stoicism, and modern secular gnosticism. These critical evaluations of Percy's philosophical concerns have sometimes overshadowed interest in his more purely artistic concerns. However, the more a reader understands the underlying philosophical concepts that inform Percy's novels, the more he may understand what Percy is trying to say and the more he may appreciate Percy's accomplishment in expressing his philosophical ideas so skillfully in fictional form. Critics and readers may enjoy Percy's novels without knowing much about his philosophical ideas, but they cannot fully understand them. Thus this study concludes that the critical response to philosophical ideas in Percy's novels has done both Percy and Percy's readers a service.
Date: December 1985
Creator: Gunter, Elizabeth Ellington, 1942-

Fairy Tale Elements in Margaret Atwood's Novels: Breaking the Magic Spell

Description: This thesis traces Margaret Atwood's uses of three major elements of fairy tales in her novels. Atwood creates a passive, fairy-tale-like heroine, but not for the purpose of showing how passivity wins the prince as in the traditional tale. Atwood also uses the binary system, which provides a moralistic structure in the fairy tale, to show the necessity of moving beyond its rigidity. In addition, Atwood's novels focus on transformation as the breaking of a spell. However, the spell to be broken arises out of the fairy tales themselves, which create unrealistic expectations. Thus, Atwood not only presents these fairy tale elements in a new setting, but she also changes their significance.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Peterson, Nancy J. (Nancy Jean)

Gothic Elements in Selected Fictional Works by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Description: Gothicism is the primary feature of Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiction, and it is his skill in elevating Gothicism to the level of high art which makes him a great artist. Gothic elements are divided into six categories: Objects, Beings, Mental States, Practices and Actions, Architecture and Places, and Nature. Some devices from these six categories are documented in three of Hawthorne's stories ("Young Goodman Brown," "The Minister's Black Veil," and "Ethan Brown") and three of his romances (The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, and The Marble Faun). The identification of 142 instances of Hawthorne's use of Gothic elements in the above works demonstrates that Hawthorne is fundamentally a Gothic writer.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Francis, Kurt T.

Politeness as a Conversational Strategy in Three Hemingway Short Stories

Description: Hemingway's dialogue and the texts of politeness and literature -- Brown and Levinson's politeness strategies -- The face of honesty in "The Doctor and the Doctor's Wife -- The face of bravery in "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" -- The face of love in "Hills Like White Elephants" -- Interpretive implications of politeness theory.
Date: December 1985
Creator: Hardy, Donald E. (Donald Edward)

The Praeceptor Amoris in English Renaissance Lyric Poetry: One Aspect of the Poet's Voice

Description: This study focuses on the praeceptor amoris, or teacher of love, as that persona appears in English poetry between 1500 and 1660. Some attention is given to the background, especially Ovid and his Art of Love. A study of the medieval praeceptor indicates that ideas of love took three main courses: a bawdy strain most evident in Goliardic verse and later in the libertine poetry of Donne and the Cavaliers; a short-lived strain of mutual affection important in England principally with Spenser; and the love known as courtly love, which is traced to England through Dante and Petrarch and which is the subject of most English love poetry. In England, the praeceptor is examined according to three functions he performs: defining love, propounding a philosophy about it, and giving advice. Through examining the praeceptor, poets are seen to define love according to the division between body and soul, with the tendency to return to older definitions in force since the troubadours. The poets as a group never agree what love is. Philosophies given by the praeceptor follow the same division and are physically or spiritually oriented. The rise and fall of Platonism in English poetry is examined through the praeceptor amoris who teaches it, as is the rise of libertinism. Shakespeare and Donne are seen to have attempted a reconciliation of the physical and spiritual. Advice, the major function of the praeceptor, is widely variegated. It includes moral suasion, advice on how to court, how to start an affair, how to maintain one, how to end one, and how to cure oneself of love. Advice also includes warnings. The study concludes that English poets stayed with older ideas of love but added new dimensions to the praeceptor amoris, such as adding definition and philosophical discussion to what Ovid had done. ...
Date: December 1985
Creator: Clarke, Joseph Kelly