Date of Award

Summer 8-2-2023

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

School

Humanities

Committee Chair

Joshua Bernstein

Committee Chair School

Humanities

Committee Member 2

Olivia Clare Friedman

Committee Member 2 School

Humanities

Committee Member 3

Alexandra Valint

Committee Member 3 School

Humanities

Committee Member 4

Monika Gehlawat

Committee Member 4 School

Humanities

Abstract

This dissertation features a collection of nine original short stories, There are Five of Us, that coalesce thematically around motherhood and the diverse range of experiences, triumphs, and fears that women in contemporary American society often share. The introduction to this dissertation puts the original stories in conversation with both the Victorian and contemporary Female Gothic, a substrate of the Gothic that Carol Margaret Davison defines in “The Victorian Gothic and Gender” as one that centralizes female protagonists and their struggles against the gendered role that patriarchal society assigned them (Davison 124). I explore Davison’s Female Gothic through a contemporary lens by putting my collection of short stories, inspired by the Female Gothic, in conversation with other contemporary authors whose works often exemplify or are inspired by the Female Gothic, such as Carmen Maria Machado, Lauren Groff, and Sequoia Nagamatsu. I articulate how their stories’ engagements with women’s multifaceted experiences and uses of monstrosity resonate in my work as well. I draw upon the scholarship of Peggy Dunn Bailey and Justin D. Edwards, among others, to contextualize how the Female Gothic inspires my creative work and highlight how I intend to expand my creative interests in the future.

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