The Purity Problem: Analyzing American Women's Literature and Sex Expression of the Nineteenth CenturyShow full item record
|The Purity Problem: Analyzing American Women's Literature and Sex Expression of the Nineteenth Century
|Master of Arts
|This thesis examines the nineteenth-century notion of purity as an origin for contemporary purity culture. Focusing on American women’s literature as a site for change, the following chapters explore the work of Ann Stephens, Frances E. W. Harper, and Kate Chopin. By utilizing both the historical legacy of scholarship and contemporary criticism surrounding these authors, this thesis offers textual analysis of the depiction of women’s sex expression and desire throughout the four texts examined. This examination provides an analysis of notions of purity as a method of controlling people historically identified as women, the ways and reasons some women writers supported purity ideals, and what they saw as the impact of confining women’s sex expression. Ultimately, this work concludes that nineteenth-century American women’s literature reinforced purity discourse, and future work with the texts must acknowledge the impact of notions of purity.
|Gaul, Theresa Strouth
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- Masters Theses 
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