This thesis reports on the use of active and passive voice in the workplace and classroom through analysis of surveys completed by 37 employees and 66 students. The surveys offered six categories of business writing with ten sets of two sentences each, written in active and passive voice. Participants selected one sentence from each set and gave a reason for each selection. The participants preferred active over passive 47 to 46 percent of opportunities, but they preferred mixed voice over both, 49 percent. The participants preferred active only for memos to supervisors; in the other five categories they preferred passive or mixed voice. Both males and females preferred mixed voice, and age appeared to influence the choices. They cited context as the most common reason for using passive.
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 ...
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
In this study, I examine two writing samples using a heuristic based on Richard A. Lanham's definition of bureaucratic writing in Revising Business Prose: noun-centered, abstract, passive-voiced, dense, and vague. I apply a heuristic to bureaucratic writing to see if Lanham's definition holds and if the writing aids or hinders the information flow necessary to democracy. After analyzing the samples for nominalizations, concrete/abstract terms, active/passive verbs, clear/unclear agents, textual density, and vague text/writers' accountability, I conclude that most of Lanham's definition holds; vague writing hinders the democratic process by not being accountable; and bureaucratic writing is expensive. Writers may humanize bureaucracies by becoming accountable. A complete study requires more samples from a wider source.
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.
Deserts! Have Known contains a scholarly preface exploring why writers write, examining the characteristics offictionwriters, and addressing the importance of place, both emotional and geographical, in fiction. Four original short stories are included in this thesis. "Miracle at Mita" depicts an aging surfer trying to overcome his fear of commitment. "Coyote Man" explores a father's guilt and the isolation resulting from that guilt. "Time, and Time Again" traces a young woman's fear of marriage to her memory of her parents' relationship, and "Paraplegia" examines a young woman immobilized by her own lack of self-esteem. These stories are connected through their themes of isolation and reconnection.
The Beat rejection of conventional values meant a rejection of marriage, family, and a nine-to-five job, and few women were prepared to make that kind of radical shift in a society that condemned women for behaving the way the Beats behaved. Though she has faced difficulty in getting published, Beat writer Diane Di Prima has been publishing steadily for the past forty years. Di Prima has also lived the life of a Beat, wandering the country, avoiding nine-to-five work and supporting herself with grants, teaching and poetry readings. In spite of her success and adherence to the Beat lifestyle, Di Prima has given birth to five children, all of whom she took with her in her travels. Diane Di Prima has always faced the particular challenge of gaining the acceptance of her male peers amid indifference and hatred toward her sex while not allowing these men to go unanswered.
Earl suffers from a guilty obsession with a monster catfish. Eddie Klomp searches dog tracks for the ghosts of his lost childhood. Mike Towns is a hopeless blues musician who loses everything he cares for. Blair Evans learns to love a pesky wart. Americana becomes confused with the difference between knowledge and sex. Do Not Eat Fish from These Waters And Other Stories is a collection of short stories that explores the strange and often defeated lives of these Southern characters (and one from the point-of-view of a feral hog). Each man, woman, and hog flails through a period of potential metamorphosis trying to find some sort of meaning and worth in the past, present and future. Not all of these characters succeed.
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.
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.
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.
The struggle for survival of an American family revolves around Mitch Wilcox, a relief pitcher for a fictional major league baseball team. Nearing the end of his long career, he must decide whether to retire or to sign a new contract. His dilemma centers on his wife, Nicole, who argues for his retirement; and his only child, Twylight, who has run away from home. The novel traces the final two weeks of a season, during which Mitch's team battles for a pennant and he delays his decision because of events that expose the precarious nature of both his professional and personal identities. During a crucial game, his journey culminates with a choice that directs him toward a new life.
This thesis is a creative work that is segmented into three main phases in order to display the developing poetic growth and control in the work of Paul Andrew Thies. The first phase is titled "Skeletons and Rhinoceri." It was a phase where I focused on more classical forms of poetry, namely accentual and syllabical sonnets. This phase was greatly influenced by both Charles Baudelaire and William Butler Yeats. The second phase, titled "Clandestinies," was one in which I tried to develop a more dense form. Lord Byron and Pablo Neruda were the two main influences on my work at this time, largely in terms of imaginative exoticism and figurative energy. The third section of this thesis, titled "Graffiti in the Orchard," is an exploration of my current work as a poet. In this phase, Rainer Maria Rilke was the primary influence as I began to develop a more fluid and expressive style.
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.
This dissertation tries to locate Milton's optimistic view of man and nature as expressed in Comus, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and Paradise Lost in the long tradition of natural law that goes back to Aristotle, Cicero, and Aquinas.
If I Could Live Next Door for a Day is a collection of short stories with the recurrent theme of taking life for granted. "Climbing the Fence" is a story about a sexually unfulfilled woman who has an unfulfilling affair. In "Chained Melody" a condescending young man learns about life in and out of jail. "An Educated Man" shows the inferiority of one man in the presence of others he considers more important. A deluded school counselor brings a jealous boy and his younger brother together in "Piggie and Pete," while another young man in "The Good Boy" tries to break away from his mother. Finally, a woman learns about herself and the world around her when she wins a large sum of money in "What About Ten-Fold?"
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.
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 ...
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 ...
I hold that Melvillean society consists of paradoxical relationships between civilization and barbarianism, evil and good, the corrupt and the natural, the individual and the collective, and the primitive and the advanced. Because these terms are arbitrary and, in the context of the novels, somewhat interchangeable, I explore Melville's thoughts as those emerge in the following groups of novels: Typee, Omoo, and White-Jacket demonstrate the paradox of Melvillean society; Redburn, Moby-Dick, and Mardi illustrate the corrupting effects of capitalism and individualism; and The Confidence-Man, Israel Potter, and Pierre depict a collapsed paradox and the disintegration of Melville's society.
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 ...
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether nonnative speakers of English have access to specifically-linguistic constraints governing past tense morphology. Forty non-native speakers of English rated the naturalness of 29 exocentric, or headless, verbs in a partial replication of Kim, Pinker, Prince, and Prasada (1991) which looked at the same phenomenon in native speakers. Nonnative speaker performance was similar to the 40 subject native speaker control group. A correlation also existed between length of residence and subject ratings. The results imply that non-native speakers have access to the rules governing past tense morphology although not as completely as native speakers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The thesis begins with an introductory chapter that explains the creative process, providing quotes from well-known poets and examples from my own personal history and ideas. Some of the creative concepts discussed are different manifestations of inspiration, such as the duende and the Muses. However, the act of creating a work of art--what actually occurs when an artist works--remains undiscovered. Every poet is part of the poetic tradition, yet she also strives to supersede that very tradition. In my poetry, I try to build on and deviate from the poetic tradition, while simultaneously representing events from my cultural and personal history. Twenty-nine poems follow the introduction. The poems included in this volume represent a contemporary writing style influenced by Romanticism and Modernism, apparent in nature imagery and ambiguity.
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 ...
This study is aimed to read Shakespeare's problem comedies, Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure into the historical and cultural context of dynamically-changing English Renaissance society at the turn of the sixteenth century. In the historical context of emerging capitalism, growing economic crisis, reformed theology, changing social hierarchy, and increasing sexual control, this study investigates the nature of complicated moral problems that the plays consistently present. The primary argument is that the serious and dark picture of human dilemma is attributed not to Shakespeare's private imagination, but to social, political, economic, and religious crises in early modern England.
This thesis consists of a group of poems around a central concept: language as a physical dwelling place—a place much like what Raphael discovered in the grottoes of Rome and named "grotesque," or "grotto-esque." Using the word, "grotesque," as an example, the preface illustrates how poetry can play with the lost histories of words while still searching for new referents and associations.
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.
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.
In my dissertation I assert that Wilbur's poetry is not so much an attempt to balance spiritual and physical realities as an attempt to mine the richness that exists in the boundary between the two worlds. I also examine and comment on his poetry that exists in the space created by other apocalyptic interstices as well.
Argues that Bellow purposefully creates ambiguity and deception using impersonal narration and free indirect discourse in order to present Herzog and The Dean's December as reflections of an ambiguous and deceptive world. The discussion of impersonal narration is based on Wayne Booth's theories about the confusion of distance resulting from impersonal narration; the discussion of free indirect discourse is drawn from a number of definitions. Utilizes a number of specific references to the texts and to criticisms of the texts to demonstrate the absence of norms and the effect that the ambiguity and deception may have on readers.
Predominantly darker than his other works, Cape Cod depicts Henry David Thoreau's interpretation of life as a struggle for survival and a search for salvation in a stark New England setting. Representing Thoreau's greatest test of the goodness of God and nature, the book illustrates the centrality of the subject of death to Thoreau's philosophy of life. Contending that Thoreau's journey to the Cape originated from an intensely personal transcendental impulse connected with his brother's death, this study provides the first in-depth examination of Thoreau's use of the five senses in Cape Cod to reveal both the eccentricities inherent in his relationship with nature and his method of resolving his fears of mortality. Some of the sense impressions in Cape Cod--particularly those that center around human death and those that involve tactile sensations--suggest that Thoreau sometimes tried to master his fears by subconsciously altering painful historical facts or by avoiding the type of sensual contact that aggravated the repressed guilt he suffered from his brother's death. Despite his personal idiosyncrasies, however, Thoreau persisted in his search for truth, and the written record of his journey in Cape Cod documents how his dedication to the transcendental process enabled him to surmount his inner turmoil and reconfirm his intuitive faith. In following this process to spiritual renewal, Thoreau begins with subjective impressions of nature and advances to knowledge of objective realities before ultimately reaching symbolic and universal truth. By analyzing nature's lessons as they evolve from Thoreau's use of his senses, this dissertation shows that Cape Cod, rather than invalidating Thoreau's faith, actually expands his transcendental perspective and so rightfully stands beside Walden as one of the fundamental cornerstones of his canon. In addition, the study proffers new support for previous psychoanalytical interpretations of Thoreau and his writings, reveals heretofore unrecognized historical ...
In this study of several novels each by Barbara Pym, Fay Weldon, and Margaret Atwood, I focus on two areas: the ways in which female protagonists break out of their victimization by individuals, by institutions, and by cultural tradition, and the ways in which each author uses a structural pattern in her novels to propel her characters to solve their dilemmas to the best of their abilities and according to each woman's personality and strengths.
The market for high-tech services is expanding, and writers will have to create more documents to market these services. Researchers note marked differences between traditional goods marketing and services marketing. A rhetorical framework for high-tech services marketing will give writers a tool for creating effective marketing messages. This study examines the five canons of rhetoric in their classical context, and then examines how the first professional teachers, the Sophists, used rhetoric to promote their services. The canons of rhetoric are then analyzed to show their modern significance. This study also considers visual rhetoric and how writers can use it effectively. This study shows that companies should promote service quality and strong service relationships through the rhetorical element of ethos. This study examines services marketing samples through a visual and verbal rhetorical framework, providing rhetorical insights that writers can use in their work.
Unearthing Edward Abbey's spiritual philosophy is not an easy task. One must sift through Abbey's humor, sort through Cactus Ed's flamboyant character, look under the veneer of this character, and beyond Abbey's overt objective of convincing readers to defy the destruction of wilderness, and only then does the spiritual philosophy of Abbey become visible. To understand his perception of spirituality, one must define what constitutes a mystic and determine what American theological philosophies mystics tend to adopt. Once these are defined, one can apply those principles to Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and determine that Abbey is a nature mystic who adheres to the ecocentric based immanence theology. This theology is contrary to the Judeo-Christian based emanation theology which supports anthropocentricism and resourcism.
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