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Spineless Men and Irrepressible Women?: Gender Norm Destabilizing Performances in The Scarlet Letter and My Ántonia
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Ryggradslösa män och okuvliga kvinnor? : Normbrytande könsroller i The Scarlet Letter och My Ántonia (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Both The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and My Ántonia by Willa Cather depict characters that perform non-traditional gender roles. In these novels, there are expectations about how women and men should act. The purpose of this comparative study is to look at how the female and male protagonists’ actions correspond to, or differ from, these expectations and if they do so in similar ways. The analytical approach is based on Judith Butler’s theory of gender performance. This study also examines in what ways the characters’ actions conflict with, or conform to, social norms of the time by investigating the social expectations for women in the Puritan society and in the late nineteenth century. Even though the settings are separated by two hundred years, this study shows that the protagonists challenge traditional gender role norms in similar ways and that both female protagonists show a feminist desire to exist outside the binary understanding of gender.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 28 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender performances, gender role norms, expectations, masculinization, feminization, feminism
National Category
General Literature Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-104363OAI: diva2:819333
Subject / course
Engelska, examensarbete för kandidatexamen
Available from: 2015-06-10 Created: 2015-06-10 Last updated: 2015-06-10Bibliographically approved

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