Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Committee Chair

Eric Tribunella

Committee Chair Department

English

Committee Member 2

Alexandra Valint

Committee Member 2 Department

English

Committee Member 3

Martina Sciolino

Committee Member 3 Department

English

Abstract

The American beach at the turn of the twentieth century became a popular site for middle-class families to escape the urban squalor of the cities and play during the summer months. Although relatively unknown today, Carolyn Wells's 1912 novel Marjorie at Seacote depicts how the beach as a liminal space destabilizes the traditional adult and child roles and creates discomfon and ambivalence over these new roles. I first discuss Carolyn Wells and Marjorie at Seacote in terms of historical context and within the framework of girls' series fiction published at the turn of the century. I then explain how the beach has achieved its liminal status and how that status works to overturn traditional social boundaries, particularly in terms of class and gender. Finally, I discuss how the novel uses the liminal space of the beach to upend these boundaries between classes, work and leisure, and childhood and adulthood and offers a new understanding of the child's and adult's relationship to the seashore.

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