KILLING THE `ANGEL IN THE HOUSE': THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN AND NATION BUILDING IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY ENGLISH AND POSTCOLONIAL POLITICAL FICTION
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation is concerned with the gendered discourse of nation and home where women carry the symbolic duty of holders of a pure, uncontaminated culture passively confined to the domestic space. I consider two commonplace tropes, the woman-as-nation metaphor and the Victorian angel in the house, both of which convey a limited view of women's agency and her significance in simultaneously resisting and ratifying patriarchal visions of nation and gender. The novels in this study document various phases of nation building under periods of colonialism and postcolonialism, and each features the plight of women affected by the realities of sham democracies and political instability. My analysis rests on the claim that postcolonial authors continue the inquiries into the ironic and futile foundations on which nation and identity is built which define modernist despair. I assert the value in understanding how women respond to disillusionment across cultures in an attempt to recover the experience of women and her political consciousness, granting a relevance to the role women play in textual deliberations on political skepticism and political idealism often reserved for male actors.
Degree ProgramGraduate College