Date of Award

12-15-2014

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Brian Glavey

Abstract

In my thesis, I concentrate on Shirley Jackson, her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and women’s place in post-World War II American society. To start, I introduce Jackson and her role in literary history, the housewife writer in the 1950s and 60s, and magazine culture. Then I move to a historical perspective of the 1950s and propaganda during the atomic war era. I focus my attention on how government literature worked to contain women in the home and control sexuality and gender roles. Following my discussion of domesticity, I concentrate on the history of the Gothic novel and how the genre’s components act as to define femininity and women in the home. In the final chapter, I offer an interpretive reading of We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I investigate the relationship between gender and the home – both the domestic relationship and the body's relationship to the physical structure. I also examine how the protagonist manipulates the home and separation of spheres in order to express herself and develop a new domestic order without male figures at the helm or even in the realm of the house.

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