Master of Arts
Dissatisfied with the status of women in the latter half of the nineteenth century, writers such as Harriet Prescott Spofford, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Hildegarde Hawthorne expressed an alienation from the domestic and womanhood as well as a harsh critique of patriarchy and the restrictions it engenders. For these writers in particular, this alienation would often take the form of an affinity with nature. I contend that in order to reveal this alienation, these women writers reconceptualize female consciousness as intertwined with other psyches—other modes of thinking and being—because of a deep recognition of woman as an othered and constantly alienated category. In each of these women’s works, multiple consciousnesses exist and intersect, elevating the feminine beyond that of the human, expressing both the threat of an unfulfilling domestic existence, as well as the promise of something strange, diverse, and beyond that fraught existence.
Carr, Shelby Carr, "“A strange, diverse creature”: Femininity and Natural Affinity in the Works of Spofford, Gilman, and Hawthorne" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 5639.
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