Comparative Literature (Bi-College)

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 96
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    "The Story of Girls Everywhere": Narrating the Gendered Life in Carmen Boullosa's Treinta años and Kathryn Davis's Duplex
    (2021) Scott, Charlotte; McInerney, Maud Burnett
    This thesis explores the use of narration in fictional accounts of women's lives through two novels: Carmen Boullosa's Treinta años and Kathryn Davis's Duplex. I conduct my analysis using Judith Butler's theory of gender performance, which I supplement with the concept of master narratives from the field of narrative identity in psychology. Master narratives are large-scale cultural and societal scripts for people's lives. The ways in which individuals conform to, deviate from or even resist cultural master narratives have important implications for their social and psychological experiences (McLean and Syed 323-324). I examine the way Treinta años depicts the performance of womanhood and the stress and abuse women experience within gendered bodies. Using Duplex, I showthat there is no "essence" at the heart of gender but simply a perceived cultural script for girls to imitate and perform. Finally, I analyze how both novels use embedded stories to represent the cultural master narratives for women and girls and how the protagonists resist these narratives. I also include an overview of the important contexts and intertexts for each novel.
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    "Don't Excommunicate the Messenger": Humor, Authorial Responsibility, and Religious Commentary in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Tales of Canterbury and Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quijote de La Mancha
    (2020) Martinez Penn, Vanessa; Ricci, Roberta
    This thesis explores the utilization of humor to address religious tensions in the medieval texts Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes and The Tales of Canterbury by Geoffrey Chaucer. Are authors using humor to create a sense of irony and thus criticize the current social order? Are they making a joke because they know they said something problematic and want to remove authorial responsibility from themselves? The thesis primarily focuses on the employment of satirical humor as a means of offering critiques of certain religious social structures. By exploring the historical contexts of both of these works, my research draws a connection between what was considered funny at the time and the religious social commentaries that each of the texts offer. Through the investigation of humor and satire theories, I investigate the interplays between social superiority, relief of social tension, authorial responsibility, objects of mockery, and social commentary. I argue that Chaucer utilizes humor to increase the social tension within the Catholic church, whereas Cervantes uses comedy to reduce the division between Christians and Muslims. Additionally, Chaucer employs meta-literary humor to remove authorial responsibility from himself, which allows him to make jokes that are considered scandalous while maintaining a role as a simple "messenger." On the other hand, Cervantes' meta-literary moments actually place more accountability on himself, but still create a relief of social tension. Both Chaucer and Cervantes are comedic masterminds of their own eras, but the historical contexts of each of these tales play a role in what each of the authors can joke about, what they can and cannot get away with, and what kinds of religious social commentaries they can deliver.
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    Women's Voices and Imperfect Communities in Sandra Cisneros and Maryse Condé
    (2020) Li, Anran; Ricci, Roberta
    My thesis explores the representations of gendered voices in Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street (1984) and Maryse Condé's Traversée de la Mangrove (Crossing the Mangrove, 1989). I incorporate literary theories in narratology and polyphony to analyze the narrative voices in the two texts and the gendered nature of these voices. I argue that the two authors' decisions to center and/or highlight female narrative voices while also including some male voices indicate a shift from western feminist literature. The authors' strategic allocation of voices marks their intersectional approach to representing women's stories and their recognition of the complexities and imperfections of the communities they represent.
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    Picking the Lock: Historical Documentary Methods in Alessandro Manzoni’s I promessi sposi and Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno
    (2019) Kurtz, Peter; McInerney, Maud Burnett
    This thesis is concerned with the use of historical documentary narration in the Italian novel "I promessi sposi" by Alessandro Manzoni and the American novella "Benito Cereno" by Herman Melville. Using a critical lens derived from narratology, this thesis examines how outside sources and documents, in the form of testimony, depositions, edicts, or chronicles are used as narrative strategies to distinguish or complicate the boundaries between fact and fiction. It investigates how historical narratives are formed by authorizing certain sources, and how those historical narratives can affirm false truths in the interest of power.