"Unlikability and Female Villains in the Works of Gillian Flynn"

Lane, Cannon, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Pasanek, Bradley, Department of English, University of Virginia

In line with feminist archetypal theorists, this thesis seeks to expand archetypes of women in fiction through an analysis Gillian Flynn’s three novels: Sharp Objects, Dark Places, and Gone Girl. As novels of significant popular appeal, these works provide examples of fictional works engaging with an audience en masse, creating more widespread ideological impact than less popular works. While feminist archetypal theorists originally sought to represent women’s equal capacities fiction, their projects often captured only women’s equal positive capacity. With this, negative representations of women fell from focus, leaving the most potent examples of female villainy as one dimensional representations. Engaging with both popular and academic discourses, this thesis focuses on how recent novels have continued the work of feminist archetypal theorists in reclaiming women’s equal negative capacity in fiction. Through the presentation of complex female villains and focalization of “unlikable” female characters, Flynn’s novels reclaim women’s negative, violent capacities.

MA (Master of Arts)
Gillian Flynn, Female Villains, Archetypal Theory
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: