Power : women, privation and language in American narrative, 1861-1936

Garfield, Deborah Michelle, English, University of Virginia
Levin, David, English, University of Virginia

This dissertation addresses the issues of womanhood, deprivation and power in three American works -- Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Kate Chopin's The Awakening; and William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!. In analyzing these narratives, I use Freud, Lacan and Kristeva to suggest the ways in which the heroines of each work attempt to evade certain Southern cultural imperatives by constructing a language of power, a compensatory lexicon which would rescript the heroine as the imperious agent in a world which consigns her to a peripheral status--whether a slave, ignored wife, or a Southern spinster who claims she has not exited the "womb."

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Jacobs, Harriet A. (Harriet Ann), 1813-1897 Incidents in the life of a slave girl, Chopin, Kate, 1850-1904 Awakening, Chopin, Kate, 1850-1904--Characters--Edna Pontellier, Faulkner, William, 1897-1962. Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner, William, 1897-1962--Characters--Rosa Caulfield, Power (Social sciences) in literature, Women in literature
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